From the time they’re old enough throw and catch, girls are discouraged from playing football. Even the most athletic, tough and strong young girls are pushed toward soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and softball and away from the most popular sport in America, despite most youth teams (and even many high school teams) carrying small, slight and ungifted young boys. Can talented girls hold their own in high school football? It’s impossible to know for sure, given that they’re almost never nurtured to play the game the way boys are.
So with that in mind, it’s always cool to see a girl show that she’s plenty capable of playing the game. Enter Holly Neher of Hollywood Hills High School in South Florida. On Thursday, Neher lined up at quarterback late in her team’s game against Hallandale High School and hurled a 42-yard touchdown on her very first snap. In doing so, she became possibly the first girl in Florida history to throw a touchdown pass in a high school game, according to ABC News.
— HHSpartansAthletics (@HHSpartanSports) September 1, 2017
Yeah, that was no little bubble screen. It was a deep bomb, and it accounted for Hollywood Hills’ only points of the game in a 21-7 loss.
Here was Holly’s reaction, via ABC:
“I started jumping up and down. My teammates started jumping on me,” Holly told ABC News of the reaction. “Coaches were screaming from the sidelines. Everyone started hitting me on the helmet.”
ABC reports that Holly is only the second ever female player varsity player in the 51-year history of her school’s football program. Is that because she’s only the second girl to ever possess the athletic talent to play football? No, it’s because girls are constantly told, implicitly or explicitly, that they cannot play the game. As Holly showed Thursday, sometimes girls just need an opportunity.