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BR woman becomes first female referee to lead officiating crew in varsity football game in LHSAA history

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 10:41 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 5, 2021 at 12:03 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Everyone remembers their first love, and if you ask Marcia Cotton, she’ll say it was the game of basketball.

“It started with me assisting my sister with coaching. She’s the assistant coach at Southern University here in Baton Rouge. When she was in high school at Wossman, I started assisting her and fell in love with the game. After my four years of college basketball, I just wanted to stay around the sport,” Cotton said.

That’s what motivated the Baton Rouge woman to become a referee in 2016 but there was something about football that had Cotton hooked.

“It was something about that gridiron that just kept drawing me in,” Cotton said.

On Thursday, Nov. 4, Cotton became the first woman in LHSAA history to lead an officiating crew in a varsity football game.

Cotton says she was unaware she made history until a few hours before kickoff between Liberty Magnet and Belaire High School.

“It’s great to know that because I think it should serve as an inspiration to a lot of people that this is a sport, and if you love sport, then officiating is a way for you to stay around the sport and still love it,” Cotton said.

Cotton hopes she can serve as an inspiration for the little girls that want a future in sports.

“This is kind of eye-opening for all of the hard work that I have put in and for the people that have been behind me and pushed me to get to this point,” Cotton said. “If there are girls or women out there that want to stay around sport and stay around it for a long time, this is the thing to do.”

As for any nervous feelings going into the game, Cotton says none of that matters.

“This means a lot, but it’s still football and we just want to get it right on the field tonight,” Cotton said.

Cotton believes she can officiate a football game on the collegiate or pro level.

Liberty Magnet defeated Belaire 62 to 27.

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