Not too many football players wear ribbons under their helmets.
But Sara Hogan proudly does.
Hogan is a senior at Central High School, and her athletic resume is rather lengthy.
She is a star center midfielder on the Lancers soccer team, an undersized, but crafty power forward on the basketball team and a pitcher on the softball team.
And she shows toughness in all three sports.
She also shows toughness in her fourth sport, as the kicker on the Lancers football team. And she’s at her strongest every time she ties a blue ribbon in her hair to represent her mom, who was diagnosed with colon cancer, but is in remission and recently had a scan that showed she was all clear.
“My mom had cancer and she beat it,” said Hogan, who was prouder of her mom than any of her accomplishments. “She was checked on Halloween and it showed no cancer, so we are so happy. She’s very strong.”
So is her daughter.
On top of being a huge helper to her mom and a great student in the classroom, Hogan is always on the run. And she’s a star in every sport she plays.
This year she was perfect on extra-point attempts in 19 tries, leading Central to the Public League Class 6A semifinals, where the Lancers were beaten by Northeast.
But she had an even bigger week in soccer.
A week after leading the Lancers to the Public League championship with a win over Masterman, she helped Central win the District 12 Class 4A championship for the second year in a row. Both times, they knocked off Archbishop Carroll. This year, the Lancers won 5-3 in the championship tilt.
That gives Central the top seed in the upcoming state tournament for District 12, as well as a lot of confidence heading into the state playoffs.
“The highlight of the season was definitely beating Masterman 4-0,” said Hogan, who lives in Holmesburg. “It was fun because we won the Public League championship. And I won MVP during the championship game. But it was so important for us to beat Carroll because it’s the first time we won two in a row (in the District 12 championship).”
Hogan did her part in the District 12 game. She recorded a goal and three assists playing center midfield.
But she did far more than just put up points. She also made life tough for her opponents, making multiple tackles and not just helping the offense, but the defense. That’s one of the perks about playing her position.
She helps in other ways, too.
“My role was playing center-mid and was a captain so I had to be a leader this year,” Hogan said. “I wanted us to go far because it’s my last year. I wanted to go off on a good note.
“This year I really took all the throw-ins, played every second of every game. On offense, I try to be a playmaker, finding their feet, making good passes, but then also finishing, being a good leader, talking people up when they don’t have a good game, picking them up. We went undefeated, so it was always a good feeling. Making sure I was there for teammates, both on the field and off.”
That attitude is the same one she takes into her other sports, too.
And for her career, it’s been pretty successful.
Last year, the Lancers made the semifinals of the Public League basketball playoffs. The soccer team has been the best team in the Public League during her time at the school and she also helped bring home a Public League softball title.
Still, this championship is the best one, at least so far.
“I love playing multiple sports and they all help each other, but soccer is my favorite,” Hogan said. “My favorite sport is soccer, I feel like I’m most involved, I love running, constantly running. In softball, it’s slower. Soccer is a physical, contact sport. It’s different than basketball where you score every time down court. In soccer, scoring is a big deal. I love tackling, constantly moving.
“Central means a lot to me. I’m so proud to be there. Everyone sees it as a difficult school, but the idea that it’s an academic school. I love that we are doing well in athletics. A lot of people focus on academics. We’re winning championships and how good our grades are. It’s the best of both worlds.”
Hogan still has a busy year left.
She still has softball and basketball to play, but she also has huge games in her fall sports. The Lancers will play this week in the state tournament. She also has a big game on Thanksgiving, when Central meets Northeast in the annual tussle. Then it’s time to pick a college. Just like in high school, she hopes sports remain a huge part of her future.
“Next year, I’m not sure where I’ll go, I was talking to a few coaches, I want to play soccer in college, but I might go D2 to play soccer and softball,” said Hogan, who maintains a 3.95 grade point average. “I want to study something with communications, sports broadcasting and journalism. I love to watch sports. I know a good amount, too. I would be able to call a game.
“I love sports. I also ref games. When I’m reffing, I learn more about it. I love talking and I love sports. I’d like to be involved as long as I can.”
Whatever she does, she’ll always have fond memories of what she and her teammates did at Central.
“It definitely makes me proud that I played football,” Hogan said. “Last year, people saw me and they’re like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe there’s a girl on the football team.’ I think I’m pretty tough, so I’m proud I do it.
“I feel like we’ve accomplished a lot in my four years. I made All-Public for soccer, softball and basketball. I made All-State in soccer, and named MVP last year. I feel like I accomplished a lot.”