Hanahan's resource officer Dodd coaches Powderpuff football team
Travis Dodd is a resource officer at Hanahan High School. But Dodd wants to be more than just a figure who exudes authority. He wants to be a mentor as well. That is why Dodd moonlights as the head coach for the school’s powderpuff football team.
“It’s important to build relationships,” said Dodd, who was a kicker on the Hawks’ football team and graduated from the school in the early 2000s. “I want them to know that I am more than a cop. I am there to show the girls I am someone who they can count on. I am there to help them out. I am there to help them have fun as well.”
Dodd said he was approached by the school’s athletic director, Dawn Smith, about starting a program last year. He was more than willing to coach the team, which numbers 23 players on the roster. He was able to put together a coaching staff that includes John Blackmon and Daniel Breen. The staff teaches fundamentals and stresses fun.
“I jumped at the chance to coach the team,” Dodd said. “I have been an assistant coach, working with the placekickers on the football team. And I have coached baseball and soccer at the rec league level. I have coached teams that have included boys and girls. But this is the first time I have coached a team that includes only girls.”
Is there a difference between coaching an all-girls’ team compared to an all-boys’ or coed teams? “I want to say no, but the answer is yes,” Dodd said. “There are similarities, but it’s a little tough to coach girls who have never been exposed to the sport. With boys, you are coaching players who grew up watching the sport. But with girls, that’s not necessarily the case. Some of them had never stepped onto a football field.”
The team was born last season, but was thrust in the spotlight in August when The Sertoma Football Classic changed its format to include powderpuff teams. The classic is the unofficial start of the high school football season and offers pomp, circumstance and a big stage. The game is played at Johnson Hagood Stadium on the campus of The Citadel. The two day event attracts some of the biggest crowds of the year.
Dodd is no stranger to the Sertoma Classic. He played in the event when he was in high school. “As a player, Sertoma is certainly an emotional experience,” Dodd said. “But I was just as excited when the girls ran out on the field. The goose bumps were there. ”
Hanahan, Fort Dorchester, Military Magnet, Stall, North Charleston and Garrett Tech are the Lowcountry schools that participate in powderpuff football. The schools play in a league that the North Charleston Police Department and North Charleston Recreation Department partnered to create. Dodd expects the powderpuff league to grow now that it has been exposed to a big audience.
The team roster includes: Eda Altinisik , Angela Alvarado, Avery Anderson, Delaney Baker, Shayln Beasley, Akieva Brigance, Nicole Bullard, Makayla Camby, Sam Chavarria-Donoso, Miranda Colson, Lauren Connolly, Hannah Connolly, Brie Diaz-Robinson, Brayleigh Fuller, Taneisha Gadsden, Fenix Gallashaw, Paige Hubbard, Jaymie Keith, Ashley Meckley, Jalaya Nixon, Micayla Pratt, Josie Reed, Hannah Robinson, and Datashia Washington. The team was 1-1 heading into this week’s game against Stall. The league’s format includes five regular-season games and will have a championship game and Dodd hopes his team can play in the big event.