A 16-year-old high school junior became the first female quarterback from her school, and possibly in the state of Florida, to throw a touchdown pass in a game.
Holly Neher, of Hollywood Hills High School in South Florida, threw a 42-yard touchdown pass Thursday in the fourth quarter of her team’s 21-7 loss to Hallandale High School.
“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.”
Holly, the only girl on her school’s 50-member varsity team, was playing in her first-ever varsity game and threw the touchdown on the first pass attempt.
#14 QB Holly Neher connects to #1 Alex Shelton for the 45yd TD!! #SpartanPride @usatodayhss @Sentinel_Sports @espn @RISEtoWIN #SCtop10 pic.twitter.com/VEQcN7ILeB— HHSpartansAthletics (@HHSpartanSports) September 1, 2017
A spokesman for the Florida High School Athletic Associate (FHSAA) told ABC News the organization is not able to confirm that Holly was the first female high school player in the state to throw a touchdown pass but “believes it could be” a first.
Holly is only the second girl in the 51-year history of her 2,000-student high school to play on the varsity football team, according to the school's assistant principal Erin Brown.
"When she made that pass the whole crowd went wild and you could see the support from her teammates," Brown told ABC News. "We couldn't be more proud of our students."
The 5-foot-2 quarterback played on Hollywood Hills’ girls’ flag football team for two years before making the jump to tackle football this season.
“I wanted to continue playing the sport so I tried out for the team,” Holly said. “I knew that I was capable.”
Hollywood Hills Varsity Football coach Brandon Graham described Holly as having the “it” factor he looks for in successful quarterbacks.
“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,” Graham told ABC News. “There is something about her that is so inspiring for her teammates. They want to follow her.”
Congratulations to Holly Neher on her first career TD pass! #Sayfie https://t.co/lljHNSez9a— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 1, 2017
Holly said she had to “tune everything out” to control her nerves in the moment. When it comes to her future in football, the teenager will take anything that comes her way “with open arms.”
The teen also had a message for other kids watching her break a gender barrier in football.
“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,” she said.