Last week, Holly Neher did something on the gridiron I’m betting just about every great NFL quarterback failed to accomplish—she threw a touchdown on her very first attempt at the high school varsity level. And she might be the first female to throw for a touchdown in the state.
The 16-year-old high school junior checked into her first varsity game on Thursday for Florida’s Hollywood Hills High School. On her first pass, Neher connected down the right side of the field for a 42-yard touchdown, accounting for all of her team’s scoring in a 21-7 loss to Hallandale High School.
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“I started jumping up and down. My teammates started jumping on me,” Neher told ABC News. “Coaches were screaming from the sidelines. Everyone started hitting me on the helmet.”
A Florida High School Athletic Associate (FHSAA) spokesman couldn’t confirm whether the 5’2″ quarterback is the first female to throw for a score in the state, but the individual “believes it could be” a first.
“Whether it’s a female or male quarterback or a ninth or twelfth grader, you want someone who isn’t afraid to make a mistake and who knows they’re going to get yelled at from time to time,” Hollywood Hills coach Brandon Graham said of filling the most important position on offense. “There is something about her that is so inspiring for her teammates. They want to follow her.”
Before joining the varsity team, Neher played flag football.
“I wanted to continue playing the sport so I tried out for the team,” Neher said. “I knew that I was capable.”
Her message for anyone else with dreams of breaking football’s gender barrier: “I hope that they all see how small how I am and no matter what mindset or color, race, size, gender, you can do anything you want.”