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All-female crew of high school football referees makes history

The six referees at Friday's Glencoe-Hillsboro game were the first all-female crew to officiate a high school boys' varsity football game in Oregon.

HILLSBORO, Ore. — September 10 marked a momentous day in Oregon high school football. 

When Mary Harvill, Cat Conti, Amy Pistone, Jeana Fisher, Kim Bly and Rebecca Brisson stepped onto Hare Field in Hillsboro Friday night, they became the first all-female crew to officiate a high school boys' varsity football game in the state.

To say football is Rebecca Brisson's favorite sport is a bit of an understatement. 

"Personally for me football is in my blood, I grew up the daughter of a football coach," she said. "I own a women's football team here in Oregon, I've played for 13 years, I still own the team, I coach football, I officiated football games, my son is playing football."

She's also been a football official for 19 years with the Portland Football Officials Association

Brisson teamed up with other women to break the mold. "Obviously everybody knows that football has been a male-dominated sport from playing, coaching, referring, all of it," said Brisson. "So it was so it was an exceptional time for us to kind of make this historic moment."

Harvill spearheaded the effort about a year ago to bring the all-female crew together. Three are from Oregon and the others from Washington and California. "I didn't really know as a kid that I could do that, so now it's that whole 'if you see it, you can do it' kind of thing" said Brisson. "So that's why we were like, 'Let's get out there, let's show our faces, let's show other girls that they can do this.'"

When Glencoe High School took on Hillsboro High School Friday night, all six women were on the field calling the game. Glencoe won, 35-0.

Brisson hopes her love for football inspires others to get in the game. "Honestly, not just for recruiting women, but for the fact that if there's noise out there about football officiating, guys are going to come and do it as well, and that's just great," explained Brisson.

The six women hope to officiate one more game this season together and at least make it happen once a year moving forward.

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