San Jose high-school senior first female player to throw touchdown pass

Silver Creek High School Senior Ariel Orona from San Jose made a historic touchdown pass at Friday night’s varsity game. It was the first touchdown pass to be thrown by a female football player in the school’s 50-year history, possibly the first in the state.

In a sport dominated by males and the football players who are females are typically kickers, 17-year-old Orona is setting herself apart. The wide receiver can not only catch but she has quite an arm.

“I was excited,” said Orona. “I’ve been practicing the last three weeks, practicing that throw over and over again.”

In the sixth game of the season against rival Westmont High in Campbell, the Silver Creek Raiders were up 21 to 6. The play was a reverse run where the runningback tossed Orona the ball. She threw it to the quarterback completing a 23-yard touchdown pass.

The crowd went wild. Orona did not realize until after the play she was the first female player to throw a touchdown pass in the school's 50-year history.

“I was always passionate about this game,” said Orona. “Me actually throwing that touchdown just made me emotional. I was very anxious for that to happen and it actually happened.”

The trick play was made famous during Superbowl 52 known as the “Philly Special” that helped the Philadelphia Eagles secure the championship. The Silver Creek Raiders call their play “Little Mermaid” after Orona.

“I was shocked but I was amazed, hey it worked,” said Silver Creek High Football Head Coach Aaron Noriega.

“We haven't heard of anyone else,” said Silver Creek High Football Offensive Coordinator Mario Martinez. “She may be the third to do it in the nation, first in California.”

Orona was a back-up quarterback for the junior varsity team but never threw a touchdown.

“Everytime I see her step onto the field, I just think it's really courageous of her,” said Silver Creek High School Football Quarterback Ricardo Anaya.

She’s gotten the respect from her teammates who see her as an equal.

“We aren't going to take it easy for anybody out here,” said Anaya. “She's right along with it. The bumps and bruises we go through.”

Orona hopes to inspire more girls to play football as she shows everyone what it really means to throw like a girl.

“For all the younger girls, if you have a dream go for it,” said Orona. “No matter how crazy it seems. Anything is possible.”

Orona is the fourth girl in the school’s history to play on the varsity football team. Her next goal is to make a touchdown as a wide receiver.