Female quarterback trades helmet for tiara as she is crowned Homecoming Queen
Erin DiMeglio, 17, made history as Florida's first female high school quarterback
18:27 GMT, 12 October 2012
A teenager who made history as Florida's first female, high school quarterback has been crowned Homecoming Queen.
Erin DiMeglio, 17, received the honour last night at the Paladin Stadium in South Plantation, as her soccer team, the Paladins, secured a 18-0 victory over the Hollywood Hills.
Instead of a dress, the sports enthusiast opted to wear her number 20 football kit for the halftime ceremony.
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What a sport! She made history as Florida' s first female high school quarterback, and last night Erin DiMeglio was crowned Homecoming Queen
Talking about the accolade, Miss DiMeglio told the Sun Sentinel: 'It's really cool to be noticed as the homecoming queen and be a
football player. I never thought I was going to win.
This is crazy.'
Her Paladins teammate, wide receiver Hordley Seide, was announced as Homecoming King.
After accepting a sash and tiara Miss DiMeglio added: 'To be with my teammate, I don't think it's ever
happened before, a guy and a girl from the football team being king.'
The teen is a backup quarterback for the South Plantation High
School Paladins, in Sunrise, Florida, near Fort Lauderdale.
All-rounder: Miss DiMeglio said that it's 'cool to be noticed as the homecoming queen and be a football player'
She has been practicing with the team since May and was able to hold her own during the fourth quarter of the Paladins game on August 24, calling plays and completing two passes.
'I couldn't take the smile off my face,' she previously told the Sun Sentinel about her field play.
'The other players have been great. After the game, they shook my hand and said it was great I was playing football.'
A basketball star in her own right, Miss DiMeglio was actually recruited to play flag football but as she trained, her natural talent for the sport became evident.
Paladins football coach, Douglas Gatewood, observed her moves and invited her to train with the varsity team – and a star was born.
Special occasion: Miss DiMeglio swapped her sports helmet for a tiara
Double act: Miss DiMeglio's Paladins teammate, Hordley Seide, was announced as Homecoming King
Football in Florida is like a religion. The Sunshine State has been a breeding ground for NFL greats like Emmitt Smith, Deion Sanders and current up-and-comer Jets QB Tim Tebow.
The state is joined by Texas and California in producing the most NFL players.
Though high school football has seen
female participation in the past, most have been in spots like kickers,
receivers, defensive backs and offensive linemen (or linewomen).
Rarely has a woman ascended to the high profile position of quarterback on the team.
Logistically speaking, Miss DiMeglio joins the team in pretty much everything – except the locker room.
You go girl: Erin Dimeglio was recruited for the flag football team, when her natural talent was spotted and she began to train with the school's varsity football team in May
No special treatment: DiMeglio's coach and fellow team members praise her talent and sportsmanship, insisting that she has to hold her own
She changes into her uniform in the empty girls locker room, on the other side of her school.
'She doesn't ask for any special treatment,' Coach Gatewood said about his no-nonsense approach to incorporating DiMeglio.
'She's not trying to show anybody up, she really just trying to do her thing and if a boy takes it the wrong way, that's on him, not on her.'
'She's got to walk in the middle of
[the football huddle] and tell them what to do and when to do it and
they better listen to her … and they do,' the coach added.
records show a total of 523 female Floridians have taken to the field
in high school football since 1973. In 2011, a total of 36 girls played
for teams across the state.
Miss DiMeglio said her older sister, Amy, thinks she is crazy, but 'I just think this is so much fun,' she said.
Off the field: Erin Dimeglio (left) says her older sister Amy (right) thinks she is crazy for playing with the boys
'I've played flag football since the fourth grade. Scoring on boys is really fun, just to see their reactions, see the coaches get mad. I'll be nervous, yeah. But this is like any other game. You just have to get in the zone and play.'
Despite Erin's enthusiasm, her parents are carefully monitoring their daughter in the contact sport known for harrowing injuries.
As a veteran athlete, the high schooler has had her fair share of injuries from her tenure on the basketball team, including a broken nose, a broken finger and multiple concussions.
'I've often joked that I wanted her to play basketball with a helmet on,' Kathleen DiMeglio, Erin's mother, said.
'She's no weakling and I think I have confidence after seeing her strength. But of course my greatest fear is injury,' the concerned mom added.
VIDEO: Erin DiMeglio works on her throwing arm