Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Female QB makes high school history

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PLANTATION, Fla. -- The third-string quarterback for South Plantation High School wears No. 13 as a tribute to Dan Marino, and her parents met at a Miami Dolphins game. She has been known to play football in parking lots.

She also has a ponytail sticking out of her helmet.

Here are Erin Dimeglio's stats from Friday night: No passes, no yards, no touchdowns, and that's all irrelevant. The senior is believed to be the first female to play quarterback for a Florida high school team, after taking two snaps -- handing the ball off both times -- in a 31-14 win over Nova High.

"To us, she's a pretty humble, regular kid," said Kathleen Dimeglio, Erin's mother.

Humble, maybe. Regular, that's debatable.

Dimeglio's typical day goes like this: Awake at 6 a.m., out by 7:15 for high school, over to nearby Broward College -- she's taking 12 credits this fall -- around midday, back to high school for football practice, and home at 8:30 p.m. Homework until 10:30. Then sleep.

After the family dinner, dishes await her. No special treatment for the quarterback when it comes to family chores.

Frankly, she doesn't want special treatment, anywhere.

"I'm just out here to prove myself," said Erin Dimeglio, a babysitter when she's not studying or playing quarterback. "I'm going to prove it by doing it on the field."

Camera crews surrounded her after Friday's game, and Dimeglio was clearly uncomfortable. South Plantation -- located near Fort Lauderdale -- rallied from a 14-10 deficit with three second-half touchdowns.

Dimeglio would have preferred more questions about the victory.

"She's got a pretty good grasp of it. She's concerned about the attention on her, when she wants the attention on her whole team," Kathleen Dimeglio said.

At 5-foot-5, she's a standout guard for South Plantation's basketball team, getting interest from Division III schools. But football is in her blood -- her father, Tom Dimeglio, was a high school teammate of Michael Irvin, Bennie Blades and Brian Blades. Tom Dimeglio went to a Dolphins game with a friend once, saw the friend's sister there and soon married her.

Their daughters, Erin and Amy, have a deep bond, with Amy making the three-hour drive home from Orlando each of the past two weekends to see her sister play. Erin got a full series last week in South Plantation's preseason game.

"A long drive, but it's worth it," Amy Dimeglio said.

Down by four points at halftime Friday, it seemed unlikely a third-stringer would see the field.

Her team rallied. The defence got stops, and with about 1:40 left -- several minutes after "Put Erin in! Put Erin in!" chants started -- Dimeglio ran into the huddle.

Her huddle.

No, she's not like every other player. Apparently, she's not like any other in state history, either.

"Don't give up on your dreams," she said, when asked what advice she'd give other girls. "Keep dreaming."

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 2, 2012 B12

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