It wasn’t enough for Holly Neher to earn her first varsity start at quarterback for Hollywood Hills (Fla.) on Friday. She had to do it in style. So, rather than a traditional handoff or more wrote play call, she ran a short pass into the flat for what became an 85-yard passing touchdown to receiver Alexander Shelton.
No, the touchdown didn’t count, but it still set a remarkably confident and positive tone for Neher, who led the Spartans to a 51-27 victory against Pompano Beach in what was the first varsity football game started by a female quarterback in Broward County history, and possibly American history as well.
As noted by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, breakthrough firsts are nothing new to Neher. The junior became the first girl in Broward County, and possibly the entire state of Florida, to throw for a touchdown pass earlier in the 2017 season during a 21-7 loss to Hallandale.
Neher split time in the victory against Pompano Beach with freshman Emile Bien-Aime, but there was no doubting that she had earned the start. She finished with another touchdown pass to Shelton and also led a second first half scoring drive as the Spartans built a dominant 30-13 advantage.
“Like everything else that me and my team has done on the practice field and then coming out here and showing what we could do,” Neher told the Sun-Sentinel. “It was a little upsetting to have that first touchdown called back, but you brush it off, come back and do it again.”
So far, Neher has been unflappable, with her teammates and coach firmly behind her. More performances like the one she authored on Friday will only further stamp her place in Florida high school football history.
“The first score got called back and that is what is special about her and this team,” Hollywood Hills coach Brandon Graham told the Sun-Sentinel. “No one hung their heads and we kept coming back. It is a really unique quality that she has. You saw that smile and the game is fun to her and that is one of the things you can always expect out of her.”