SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — The varsity football team at San Jose’s Silver Creek High School pulled off an historic play during its game last Friday.
It was the kind razzle-dazzle football not normally seen in high school, but it was not the play itself but rather who threw the touchdown pass that made history.
The hero of the game was actually a heroine; 17-year-old Ariel Orona became the first female player to throw a touchdown pass in the history of Silver Creek.
She may be the first in the state, and she’s not even the team’s quarterback.
“The ball ended up being snapped to the running back, not to the quarterback,” explained Orona. “The quarterback went down the field as if he was a wide receiver.”
That’s when the crazy play paid off. The running back pitched the ball back to Orona and she threw the touchdown pass. They called the play “The Little Mermaid.” Head coach Aaron Noriega said the team was excited
“They came and said, ‘Hey, I think we went down in history!’ We? You mean she! She went down in history,” said Noriega. So, you know, the boys, they were excited. They were saying we and I said, ‘No, you mean her!”
Despite the attention, Orona remains low key. Even as the only female player on the team, it’s hard to tell her from the other players during practice.
“I’m on the football team. I should be treated just like everybody else,” she said, going on to say with a giggle that she wasn’t shy about tackling her teammates in practice.
She has become a celebrity at the school.
“We were just talking about how great it is for her and the school,” said fellow Silver Creek High student Sosa Amas.
“Pretty dope that she kinda made history in the school,” said another student, Kalrisa Arguta.
Noriega has nothing but admiration.
“Chase your dreams, you know?” said Noriega. “If that’s what you want to do, play football. Never tell a child that they can’t play something.”
Orona says she hasn’t decided if she’s going to pursue playing football after high school or not.