Gilbert (Ariz.) Arete Prep’s football team put a new play in last week.
It was called the “Skylar formation.”
When the small Gilbert charter school got to the opposing team’s 1-yard line last Friday night, a 5-foot-3 senior with a red, braided pony tail lined up a few yards behind the center and took the direct snap.
Skylar Nicholas followed her blockers up the middle for a touchdown in an 81-28 win over Phoenix Day School for the Deaf.
It was her only carry in the game. She also kicked nine extra points, and, on a kickoff, made a touchdown-saving tackle.
But everybody was talking about that touchdown afterwards.
Female football players have kicked extra points and made field goals in Arizona high school varsity football games.
But it is very rare to find a female player scoring a touchdown in a game. Three years ago, Sanders Valley went 4-6 behind a sophomore starting female quarterback, Cherelle Speen.
Nicholas’ feat comes on the heels of Chandler Basha kicker Becca Longo becoming the first female in the country to receive a football scholarship out of high school to a Division I or II college program in the spring when she signed with D-II Adams State in Colorado.
“It was the first touchdown for a girl at our school,” coach Cord Smith said.
Nicholas, who plays wide receiver along with doing the kicking duties, was told by Smith at practice last week that he had put a play in for her to try to make history.
Her initial reaction?
“I was kind of scared,” she said. “But I did it and it was great.
“It was a team effort on my team’s part.”
A midfielder in soccer, Nicholas never thought of playing football until her freshman year at academically challenging Arete Prep. She said she would go to the football games on Friday night and kick the ball afterwards with friends.
“We would all go and kick field goals and extra points,” Nicholas said. “I was able to do it. It kind of motivated me, thinking, ‘Maybe I could join the team. Maybe I could be the kicker.’ ”