The Lukowski legacy continues

Sophia+Lukowski+kicks+a+field+goal+against+Lake+Lehman

Photos by Andy

Sophia Lukowski kicks a field goal against Lake Lehman

Sophia Tattersall, Student Writer

GNA CAMPUS- Trojan football has a long and proud history here in NEPA. Those who wear the Trojan uniform do so with pride. The players understand the expectations that come along with being a member of the team and respect the legacy of those who have played before them. 

The 2020-2021 team, however, has added to that legacy starting with the first game of the season. Under the protective gear and decorative jersey numbered 32 is the Trojan’s newest kicker, Sophia Lukowski. The Lukowski name has been echoed throughout the GNA football stadium for decades. Her father, Edward Lukowski II, aunt Larissa Dawson (Lukowski), and brother Edward Lukowski III all played for Nanticoke as kickers. Sophia joined her aunt as one of the few females ever to play the sport, and she is making an impact. 

Sophia Lukowski is a sophomore at GNA, and this is her first year on the football team. She is also involved in other sports at the high school including soccer, basketball, and track and field.

Lukowski first thought of joining the team after hearing there was an absence in the kicking position. She told The GNA Insider, “I started playing football about three weeks ago when I asked Coach Bruza if I could kick a football just to see whether or not I could.” Knowing of her soccer experience, Coach Bruza accepted her request, and not soon after, she became a player.

The Nanticoke Trojans’ first game of the season was against the Williamsport Millionaires. The Trojans fell short and lost the home game 43-18. Sophia described the first game saying it “didn’t start off too hot.” She was blocked on three extra-point attempts. Learning from her experience on the following Friday’s game against the Lake-Lehman Knights, Sophia was able to successfully kick a 22-yard field goal. The team did not win this game either, but it was a momentous moment for Sophia. 

The school and team have been extremely accepting of Sophia joining the football program. Sophia said, “All the guys on the team are extremely kind and they created a fun atmosphere. I’d really like to thank them for including me not only onto their team but into their family too. Just by being there for three short weeks, I can easily tell that they are more than just a team; they are their own family.”

The GNA Insider wishes Sophia Lukowski the best as well as the entire Trojan football team.

Below is The GNA Insider’s interview with Sophia: 

Who is your favorite team (college or NFL)?

My favorite college team is Penn State and my favorite NFL team is the Eagles.

Is it your overall goal to become a professional football player? If not, what would you like to do after high school?

Thinking about going pro in any sport is such a cool and amazing dream that so many wish to achieve, but in the past 3 weeks which I’ve been kicking, I haven’t put any thought into continuing football after high school. As of right now, I obviously want to go to college, but I’m just trying to go with the flow and enjoy the 3 years I have left of high school.

Lukowski participates in practice.

How are your practices? What do you usually do?

Because of my conflicting soccer schedule, I can only meet the team for the Thursday night walkthroughs, but they definitely are one of my highlights each week.  All the guys on the team are all extremely kind and create a fun atmosphere, but I’d really like to thank them for including me not onto their team but into their family. Just by being there for only 3 short weeks, I can easily tell that they are more than just a team; they are their own family.

What inspired you to join the team? 

I started playing football about 3 weeks ago when I asked Coach Bruza if I could kick a football just to see whether or not I could. Joining the team as a kicker is an amazing accomplishment for me, especially since kicking runs in my family. My dad and aunt were both kickers for the Trojans when they were in high school, then my brother took on the position, and now he has handed the torch down to me.

How have people reacted to hearing your position on the team? 

People have been really supportive of me being the kicker, especially my family. At first, I thought people were skeptical because my personality doesn’t shout “football player,” but after showing people a few big kicks, I think I’ve been able to persuade them to change their point of view.

Do you believe football should be more gender-inclusive?

Over time it seems that people have cast this fake facade over football making it seem as if it were a “boys only” sport. There is no written rule that girls can not play football. I think it is just hard for coaches and players to adapt to seeing girls playing a stereotypical “boys sport,” but that is not the case for the Nanticoke Trojans. 

 

The GNA Insider had the honor of interviewing another Lukowski legend, Sophia’s aunt, Larissa (Lukowski) Dawson, to get to know her story as a kicker. Larrisa played for the Trojans during the 1997-1998 season. Unlike Sophia, Larissa was specifically asked to join the team by Mr. Bravitz the athletic director. She too played soccer and had a background in kicking. Larissa could not recall much about her first game, but she remembers the feelings of anxiety and nervousness as she started.

Her brother, Ed Lukowski II, helped Larissa learn the sport and transform her soccer abilities to apply them to the football. She credits him to her success in the technique and told us, “It’s definitely not just running out and kicking the ball.”

Despite being the only female on the team, she was welcomed into the football family. She told us, “The guys made me feel like one of them so I felt like I fit in. Coach Bruza was one of my teammates.” Bruza later became the coach for the Trojans and is the one who Sophia asked to start her kicking career. Larissa spoke highly of her niece saying, “She is doing an awesome job, and I couldn’t be more proud of her. She is an amazing athlete as well as an amazing person.”

After her high school years, Larissa did not pursue football. She went on to earn her degree at Luzerne County Community College (LCCC) and Empire Beauty School for cosmetology. She told us, “I had no regrets doing it because it was definitely an experience that I was glad to have.”

The Trojans will forever be grateful to the Lukowski family. We wish #32 the best luck this season and anymore to come.