Alexandria Buchanan remembers the days that she would sling the old pigskin around with her father when she was little.
She didn’t play organized football until joining a flag football league in the seventh grade, but that’s where she says her love of the sport truly developed.
Her journey hit its crescendo on Saturday night when the McKinley sophomore quarterback became the first girl in Hawaii to throw a touchdown pass in a game. She found Ace Asis on a 16-yard fade route that tied the game against Kalaheo at 14-14 in the second quarter.
Nanakuli’s Chelsey-Ann Kaimi is the only girl to score a touchdown when she crossed the plane against Moanalua during the 2000 season.
“It means a lot,” Buchanan said after the Tigers’ 27-26 loss to the Mustangs. “This is my team. They’re like my second family so it feels great to be able to play with them.”
But it wasn’t a token or garbage time touchdown. Buchanan got the starting nod for McKinley under center and commanded the offense for the vast majority of the game. And she almost ended the Tigers’ 27-game losing streak that dates back to 2013.
She finished 7-for-16 for 136 yards, three interceptions and a touchdown. Not too shabby for an underclassman that joined the team on Tuesday after getting called up from JV.
“We kind of knew that coming in. I saw her play before when she was on the JV. She’s the real deal. You give her more time and she can throw with the best of them,” Kalaheo head coach Darrell Poole said. “To me, it was awesome. I told my boys she’s gonna complete some passes against us. Hats off to her.”
Buchanan’s season with the JV team last fall was her first time playing tackle football. With that in mind, “the line knows we need to keep her protected because she’s taking a big step up from JV,” teammate Sioeli Lopes-Liutolo said.
McKinley head coach Pat Silva was approached after the game but declined to comment.
Afterwards, Buchanan was seen comforting and uplifting teammates who were discouraged after another McKinley loss, some of them with tears in their eyes.
“Like I said, they’re my second family,” she said. “I love them and I hope they love me back. I’d do anything for them and I know they’d do anything for me on and off the field.”
Spoken like a true quarterback.