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Mepham's Sofia LaSpina becomes first female to score TD in LI history

Fifteen-year-old Sofia LaSpina, a wide receiver for the

Fifteen-year-old Sofia LaSpina, a wide receiver for the Mepham Pirates football team, on Saturday became the first female player to score a touchdown in Long Island history. Newsday's Steve Langford reports. Credit: Newsday / Raychel Brightman; Jennifer LaSpina, Mepham Athletic Department: Photo Credit: Jennifer LaSpina

The wide receiver ran a short out and turned for the pass. Mepham quarterback Peter Mayo, rolling to his left, delivered the ball just as his teammate crossed the goal line.

The timing was perfect.

And the play would have historical significance.

Sofia LaSpina’s 4-yard reception made her the first female football player in Long Island history to score a touchdown.

"I turned around and the ball was right on target and I was in the end zone," LaSpina said. "It was so awesome. The first one to congratulate me was [halfback] Gabe Terra. The guys were all pumped up."

There was no end zone dance or spike. A good wide receiver makes it look as if he (or she) has been there before. LaSpina handed the ball to the official and celebrated with her teammates.

LaSpina, 15, who started playing football in the seventh grade at Grand Avenue in the Bellmore-Merrick School District, finished with three receptions for 45 yards in Mepham’s 49-21 win over Roslyn on Saturday.

"We were all super-excited as she’s worked exceptionally hard in practice with a great attitude and she keeps getting better and better," said Mepham coach Anthony Cracco, who gave LaSpina the game ball. "It was a really cool moment to be a part of."

LaSpina, a 5-5, 140-pounder, made her first varsity catch in the third quarter on a 5-yard out and turned it upfield for a 16-yard gain.

"Peter put it right in my hands, a really good throw," she said. "I went up the hash for 16 yards. I knew a big hit was coming and I just wanted to hold on to the ball. And it was a good, hard hit."

"Her first catch, she broke upfield and picked up an extra 12 or 13 yards and took a pretty good shot in the secondary," Cracco said. "We were thrilled to get her the ball and the opportunity to shine."

Both Mayo and LaSpina are juniors. Mayo said they have been friends since Martin Avenue Elementary School and that sharing the moment with her was an honor. It was special for him too — his first varsity TD pass.

"She runs very good routes and has very good hands," he said. "I throw to her all the time in practice and she gives our defense good looks. She competes. I didn’t realize how big of a deal it was until our coach said no female has ever scored in 85 years of Mepham football. That was a wow moment for me."

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