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Florida girl plays QB in boys' high school game

By Tim Reynolds

AP Sports Writer


DAVIE, Fla. >> A high school senior is believed to have become the first girl to play quarterback in a Florida regular-season game, taking two snaps Friday night.

Erin DiMeglio, the third-stringer from South Plantation High School, checked in with about 1:40 left in her team's 31-14 win over Nova. Both of her snaps came from the shotgun formation, and she handed the ball off each time before being replaced in the final seconds.

While no official records are kept on what positions girls have played in the past on Florida high school teams — about 500 girls have suited up for boys' squads across the state over the years — DiMeglio is presumed to be the first quarterback to get on the field.

"I just do my own thing," DiMeglio said after the game, as about a dozen reporters and cameras surrounded her. "It's a lot of attention, but I just kind of don't worry about that much."

Fans were chanting "Put Erin in! Put Erin in!" during the final minutes, after South Plantation went up by 17 points in the fourth quarter. The two quarterbacks ahead of her on the team's depth chart played first, but the loudest ovation of the night seemed to be when DiMeglio checked into the game.

"God bless her," South Plantation coach Doug Gatewood said. "She handles it better than anybody else. She goes on the field, she has single-minded focus. It's crazy. It's great publicity for the school, it's a positive thing, but at the end of the day that's not why we did it. We did it because she's a legitimate third-string quarterback."

Gatewood is also the flag football coach at South Plantation, and urged DiMeglio to work out with the boys' varsity last spring, saying she had a good enough arm to compete. From there, the idea was born to have her try and actually be on the team, and Gatewood eventually convinced her parents, Tom and Kathleen DiMeglio, that the potential positives outweighed any risks.

Her teammates have supported her without any reservation, Gatewood said. And DiMeglio has won them over with ease, first by being a star member of the school's girls basketball team, then after football exploits such as throwing five touchdown passes in a 7-on-7 tournament against boys this summer.

She didn't throw any passes on Friday night. With her team up big in the final moments, she didn't have to, either.

"It was exciting," said DiMeglio's sister, Amy DiMeglio, who was on the sideline with her parents. "I think any exposure during the game is good. You saw how the crowd reacted. People are getting more comfortable with the idea. Some people blog about her and there's negative comments, some inappropriate comments. People need to get over her being a girl and just look at her abilities. That's what she wants."

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cojef wrote:
A barrier breaker for sure. Congrats to her, her coach and her family. Sure is a wonderful family.
on September 1,2012 | 08:00AM
smooshpappy wrote:
Congetz to her! Does she throw like a girl?
on September 1,2012 | 08:12AM
Dragonman wrote:
I watched a trailer about her on the news last night. Not sure how strong her arm is but she throws better than me, but everbody throws better than me. Honestly she looks good throwing the ball.
on September 1,2012 | 10:21AM
hawaiianstyle wrote:
Great story and congrats to her!! Just my two cents, but how can he say this wasn't a PR move. What would happen if she got blind-sided by a 6'2, 230lb linebacker coming at full speed? Would the coach get criticized instead? I'm all for Title IX but football players get knocked out of games and even paralyzed after some vicious hits. It'd be tough for the defense cuz I wonder if they'd hold up and not hit her as hard so they aren't "the guy" who hurt her. Anyone who's played football knows that stopping or holding up instead of going at normal speed can also lead to injury because it's not what you're used to. Story still shows how far each generation is evolving.
on September 1,2012 | 11:06AM
droid wrote:
This is the same argument the military made with women, so I doubt that it will have any effect — whether it’s a legitimate argument or not.
on September 1,2012 | 05:49PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
I am happy to see that the girls are getting to a point of being treated equally. Opportunity leads to more equality not only on the field but outside of the field.
on September 1,2012 | 11:13AM
bigwalton15 wrote:
What a joke. In all honesty, it's a PR move. There was zero chance they would have called a real play with her back there. She's in a shotgun then hands it off right away. Just a glorified kneel down. Get some real news.
on September 1,2012 | 06:48PM
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