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'Accomplish anything': 5th-grade girl living football dream in Butte

Posted at 5:46 PM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 20:16:25-04

BUTTE  — The Buffalo Wild Wings Steelers were on the 1-yard line of the First Citizens Cowboys and looking to hit pay dirt on a sunny Wednesday evening at the Copper Mountain Recreation Complex.

The Steelers' quarterback, who stands a little under 5-feet in height, faked a handoff to the left and then went scampering to the right -- blonde hair spilling out of the back of her helmet -- searching for the pylon.

A Cowboys defender tracked her down and jarred the ball loose, but not before she had broken the plane of end zone to give the Steelers their first touchdown of the game.

For 10-year-old Charliee Richter, the first girl to ever be tabbed as a starting quarterback in the 25-year history of the Mining City Little Guy Football league, she's living the dream.

Football is the only organized sport Charliee has ever participated in and, quite frankly, is the only one she wants to play. She remembers watching her older brother, Quintin, playing football when she was younger.

"That really inspired me," said Charliee.

From that moment on, all she wanted was to be on the gridiron.

"I don't think she's played anything besides football," said Natasha Richter, Charliee's mom. "It's the first sport that she chose to do and it's all she's wanted to do."

The Richters -- who also include Charliee's dad Dan and younger brother Weston -- live in Rocker. When Charliee told her parents she wanted to play football, they didn't hesitate to sign her up.

Charliee played two years of flag football before transitioning to tackle football, describing the latter as "the greatest thing ever."

Her coach, Zach Cunningham, stressed that naming her the starting signal caller was based solely on her skills, work ethic and toughness.

"She's no different than any of the other boys, she's a player to me," Cunningham said. "She goes out and works hard and shows up to practice and has played every down of every game. She's an inspiration."

When asked how she would respond to someone telling her that football is solely for boys, Charliee responded with a wise-beyond-her-years answer.

"Anyone can do anything," reasoned Charliee, who matter-of-factly states that she's going to play in the NFL someday. "They can accomplish anything."