Down 14-10 at halftime against host Nova, South Plantation had bigger things to worry about than history on Friday night.
But thanks to three second-half touchdowns by senior running back Alex Collins, the Paladins won its season opener 31-14 and broke down a barrier in the process.
With 1:49 left to play and a 17-point advantage, senior Erin Dimeglio became the first girl to play quarterback in a regular-season high school football game in Florida.
“It’s been a zoo,” coach Doug Gatewood said. “All day today I’ve got cameras coming talking to her, God bless her. She handles it better than anybody else. When she goes on the field, she’s single-minded focus, but it’s crazy. Great publicity for the school — it’s a positive thing — but at the end of the day it’s not why we did it. We did it because she’s a legitimate third-string quarterback.”
On the sideline as senior backup quarterback Brian Connerton handed off the ball, Dimeglio was told to “get ready.” She replied that she was.
From the shotgun, she handed the ball off twice to senior running back Daniel Dayes for a combined 28 yards.
“I want to throw a pass, but we don’t want to throw a pass because it could be intercepted,” Dimeglio said. “It wouldn’t be good to throw a pick and run back.”
The 5-6, 160-pounder is the starting point guard for the girls’ basketball team. She also played flag football under Gatewood, who asked her to come out during the spring to throw the ball.
In return, Dimeglio wanted to try on pads and a helmet to see how it felt. Ever since she was a little kid she wanted to play, but her parents said it was too rough. From there, Dimeglio kept practicing with the team, liked it enough and stuck with it.
At one point during the fourth quarter when the Paladins extended the lead to 17, the crowd began to chant “Erin.” Last week, she took snaps in the preseason game against Seminole Ridge.
“It’s a great feeling, but I think it should be a whole team,” Dimeglio said. “It’s a team effort, not just me. I’m just out here to prove myself. Just prove by doing it on the field and not by saying anything. Don’t give up on your dreams. Keep dreaming and work at it.”
• Taravella 44, Coral Glades 6: Coral Glades hosted the second annual “Swamp Bowl” against Taravella at Coral Glades High School.
The Trojans used a Wing-T offense and broke the game open with 27 second-quarter points. The offense was led by Lorenzo Jerome with 104 yards passing with a touchdown. Jawanza Evans-Morris had four rushing touchdowns. Robert Miller led the Taravella defense with two interceptions.
• McArthur 27, West Broward 14: Terrell Bonds led the Mustangs by throwing three touchdowns in their home opener.
At the half, McArthur led 21-0 and West Broward didn’t have an answer for the Mustangs. West Broward responded with 14 unanswered points, but it wasn’t enough to prevail.
“It’s a great way to start the season, but we have a few things to iron out,” coach Andrew Rhoden said.
• Cypress Bay 29, Deerfield Beach 6: Led by running back Matt Dayes and a stingy defensive performance, Cypress Bay (1-0) began its season with the road victory.
Dayes led the Lightning rushing for 117 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, Cypress Bay held the Bucks to under 150-yards of total offense.
“I’m proud of the way he ran. The line really gave him some nice holes,” Cypress Bay coach Mark Guandolo said. “Our guys competed they hit and ganged tackled. That is what we wanted to see.”
Cypress Bay’s Alex Montgomery finished with four catches for 143 yards and a touchdown.
• Boyd Anderson 28, Dillard 7: Boyd Anderson had no trouble dispatching of Dillard in both teams’ season opener at Boyd Anderson.
The Cobras (1-0) jumped out to an 14-0 lead in the second quarter behind the arm of Gregory Hankerson, who was 16 for 30 for 298 yards two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown.
• Cardinal Gibbons 36, Archbishop McCarthy 16: A seldom successful gameplan — the two-quarterback system — thrived during Cardinal Gibbon's season-opening victory at Pompano Beach High.
Senior starter Ryan Giaratano and junior Peyton Bender combined to complete 19 of 29 passes for 385 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Chiefs.
• Calvary Christian 24, Westminster Academy 8: Isaac Hoza threw two touchdowns to lead the Eagles (1-0) over the Lions (0-1).
Hoza threw for 234 yards and completed 16 of his 26 passes.
Calvary Christian outgained Westminster Academy in total yards 363 to 130.
• Dade Christian 35, North Broward Prep 26: Gary Sampson made the most of his 10 rushes, collecting 197 yards, scoring twice, to lead the Crusaders.
• Pine Crest 28, Fort Lauderdale 6: Trevor Osceola scored twice on the ground to help the Panthers defeat the Flying L’s.
The Pine Crest defense forced four turnovers, including an interception return for a touchdown by Alex Welch.
• Late Thursday — Somerset d. Hollywood Christian 25-8, 25-11, 23-25, 25-12: Celeste Grimmett (HC) 11 points, 4 kills. SOM 1-0. HC 0-2.
• Late Thursday — Calvary Christian d. Highlands Christian 25-14, 25-23, 24-26, 25-11: Emily Taylor 25 assists, 5 aces, 5 kills. Lindsay Foreman 10 aces, 11 kills, 6 digs. Annie Harley 10 kills, 3 blocks. CAL1-1.
• Late Thursday – Pine Crest d. Sagemont 25-17, 25-21, 23-25, 25-15: Megan Bodden, 21 digs, 7 kills, 3 points, 3 aces. Heather Preslier, 18 digs, 9 kills, 3 points, ace. SAG 0-2.