Airman 1st Class Jasmine Plummer is reserved and shy among her peers in the Nevada Air Guard. She’s been that way her entire life.
But there is nothing reserved or shy about her play on the football field.
Her gridiron prowess already earned her legendary status with a Hollywood film, “The Longshots,” about her journey as an 11-year-old girl in 2003 becoming the first female quarterback to lead a team to the Pop Warner Super Bowl. Released in 2008, the movie is based on her memorable Pop Warner season with actress Keke Palmer playing Plummer and Ice Cube playing her football mentor. That year, ESPN The Magazine featured her in an article headlined “The Gridiron Girl.”
After more than a decade hiatus from football, Plummer, now 28, has reunited with the game she loves and is set to play for the Reno-based Nevada Storm in the Women’s Football Alliance Division II Championship game against the Detroit Dark Angels on July 23 at the Pro Football Hall Fame in Canton, Ohio. The championship game caps off a dominant season with the Storm going 6-0 in the regular season, winning the division semifinal Saturday 14-6 against the Houston Energy at North Valleys High School in Reno.
When asked if she felt she was a good running back, Plummer gave a one-word answer: “Absolutely.”
The stats back her claim.
Through six regular season games and two playoff games, Plummer leads all Division II rushers in yards (814), touchdowns (15), yards per carry (15.5) and is tied for the longest run of the season (95 yards), according to the WFA website.
“I feel like this is what I am supposed to be playing,” Plummer, who also plays cornerback on defense, said. “I’m glad there was an opportunity for me to do that. I just like hitting people and playing football.”
Her uncle, Fred Johnson, Sr., was one of the first people to notice Plummer’s ability playing backyard football in her hometown of Harvey, Illinois, just south of Chicago.
“She was playing football with some guys at a park down the street from her house and she injured her knee,” Johnson said. “A boy brought her home, holding her in his arms. She was about 9. This guy was much older, much bigger. My sister couldn’t believe it. She thought these much older boys shouldn’t be playing football with her baby. I told my sister she loves the game, but she should be playing in a more organized environment.”
Johnson became her coach in Pop Warner at the Mighty-Mite level. He would later be played by Ice Cube in the movie “The Longshots.” The movie depicts Plummer as a “girlie girl” who eventually plays football, Johnson said, but that was never the case in real life.
“She always loved football,” he said.
That love of the game became her primary focus as she entered the Junior Pee Wee level of Pop Warner. At quarterback, Plummer led the Harvey Colts to the Pop Warner Super Bowl in 2003 in Orlando, Florida. She was the first female quarterback in the national tournament’s 61-year history, ESPN reported.