The accolades continue to pour in for Mepham junior wide receiver Sofia LaSpina, who became the first female football player in Long Island history to score a touchdown when she caught a 4-yard pass from quarterback Peter Mayo in Saturday’s 49-21 win over Roslyn.
The Bellmore-Merrick School District announced on Monday that LaSpina was named the New York Jets High School Football Player of the Week and will be honored at an upcoming game. The weekly award also includes a $1,000 donation from the Jets and Gatorade to support the district’s football program.
LaSpina’s touchdown was featured during halftime on NBC’s "Sunday Night Football" game between Baltimore and Kansas City.
She caught three second-half passes totaling 45 yards in the game. 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.
Mayo, who connected on all three passes to LaSpina, said the two have been friends since grade school and that he is proud to share the moment with her.
"We went to Martin Avenue Elementary School together and we’ve always been friends," Mayo said. "She works so hard in practice and has very good hands. I throw to her all the time."
LaSpina, who was presented the game ball immediately afterward by coach Anthony Cracco, said she started playing football in the seventh grade.
"I just love football," she said. "I love playing and watching it. I play with my siblings all the time."
LaSpina said she throws the ball around with her 16-year-old sister Gianna and 12-year-old twin brothers, Robert Jr. and Mateo. She also plays first base for the school softball team.
"We were all super-excited as she’s worked exceptionally hard in practice with a great attitude and she keeps getting better and better," Cracco said. "I never give out a game ball right after the game like that. It’s a first for me. But I felt it was in the moment and a very big deal."