Jessica Mangili

Zariah Gonzales watches her teammates from the sideline last year.

Yesica Ibarra

Slowly adjusting to being the only girl on the football team, junior Zariah Gonzales keeps playing, maintains a high GPA in honors courses and handles her time wisely while her day is consumed with long practices.

“I fell in love,” said Gonzales. “That’s why I can’t stop playing.”

Gonzales has held the linebacker position on the football team since her  freshmen year .

“My friend I tried out. It was 4 girls on the team then it was just me.”

She recalls on homecoming night playing Lodi where Stagg won 49-3. “The crowd kept cheering for #45, when they put me in the game.”

Gonzales appreciates the support, but not the limelight or pity that she’s the only girl.

“I’m not playing for attention, I’m playing for football,” said Gonzales.

A night she’ll never forget is the St. Mary’s game where Stagg took the win 40-32 for the first time since 1999.

“It’ll always be in my memory,” Gonzales said.

“I feel like the luckiest person to say I’m a part of this championship team that is making history.”

Hoping to play football all four years of high school and possibly for college, Gonzales wants to inspire and give people the idea you can do what you want to do.

“Some girls join the football team for the wrong intentions and I’m not one of them,” said Gonzales.

“Everything that you do and learn in football, you apply to your everyday life even after high school,” said Gonzales.

“You learn to work as a team, build character and never give up.”