In Broward County, Florida, telling an athlete that they “throw like a girl” is about to become a compliment.

Meet Erin DiMeglio, a 17-year-old senior at South Plantation High School and a quarterback for the Paladins varsity football team. A college basketball prospect, Erin initially tried flag football as a way to stay in shape and showcase her athleticism to college scouts. Instead, her natural ability caught the eye of Douglas Gatewood, head coach of the Paladins varsity squad.

Gatewood recently raved about the 5-foot-6, 160 pound quarterback:

Erin can actually do what we ask of her…she doesn’t ask for any special treatment, she can complete the passes I ask, she knows the plays, she finishes conditioning, she’s here when I ask her to be here…anything I ask for, she does.”

DiMeglio showed confidence and poise in her preseason debut, completing two passes and displaying the leadership skills that have impressed coach Gatewood from the beginning.

“I couldn’t take the smile off my face,” DiMeglio said. “You’d think the other team would want to know why I’m there, but other players have been great. After the game, they shook my hand and said it was great I was playing football.”

There have been sporadic instances of female players at the high school and college level, but it appears that Erin is breaking new ground by lining up behind center. According to Florida records, there have been 523 examples of girls playing football at the high school level, but its unclear if any have been asked to lead an offense.

Football is a dangerous game for any player, and Erin’s parents were initially skeptical about whether or not to allow her to join the team. Coach Gatewood set their minds at ease by promising to install special formations and run plays that keep the football moving.

As of now, DiMeglio is the team’s third-string quarterback, and is unlikely to see significant playing time. Still, it seems equally unlikely that the lack of playing time will wipe the smile off Erin’s face, or diminish this incredible story in any way.

Watch a video of Erin in action below.

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