SALEM, ORE. -- For those who were on hand at McCulloch Stadium on Oct. 18, 1997 it may be hard to believe, but it is now the 10th anniversary of Liz Heaston becoming the first female to play and to score in a college football game when she competed for Willamette University against Linfield College a decade ago. Heaston, who also was a star player on Willamette's women's soccer team, kicked two extra points in the Bearcats' 27-0 Homecoming victory over the Wildcats. She also played against Southern Oregon University one week later, but missed two extra points against the Raiders.
Heaston was asked to play for the football team when starting place-kicker Gordon Thomson was injured. She had to work practices around her soccer responsibilities and even had to rush from a home soccer game to get to the football game against Linfield.
Heaston's football appearances were part of Willamette's 1997 football season, that included 13 consecutive wins before the Bearcats lost to Findlay University (Ohio) in the NAIA Championship game. Thomson returned from his injury and handled WU's place-kicking chores during the final three regular season games and all four playoff games. Heaston, Thomson and the rest of the 13-1 team from 1997 will be inducted into the Willamette University Athletics Hall of Fame on Oct. 27, 2007.
Willamette Athletics is proud to congratulate Heaston on the 10th anniversary of her historic kicks. Now married and known as Elizabeth Heaston Thompson, she is an optometrist in Richland, Wash.
For more about Liz Heaton, go to these locations:
Cardinal & Gold (Willamette Athletics magazine) article from Summer, 2007
Liz Heaston '99 Gets Kicks in more than One Sport
By Jamie Timbrell '06
The Statesman Journal, Salem, Ore., article on Oct.18, 2007
Trailblazing kicker marks a footnote in history
By Capi Lynn
The Oregonian, Portland, Ore., article on Oct. 14, 2007
Called into History
By Rachel Bachman