HOLMDEL, NJ – Lindsay Cannon comes from a football family.
Her grandfather John starred for Holmdel High School ahead of nine-year National Football League career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Her uncle Gary played at the NCAA level for the University of Delaware. Lindsay’s father, Scott, is a member of the Holmdel High School football coaching staff, as well a youth coach in town, where he oversees his son Jack’s team.
However, the lack of opportunity for female athletes to compete on the gridiron has created a disconnect that Cannon and the Shore Conference will begin to remedy this week.
“I’ve always watched (my dad) coach my brother, and see how they watched games and talked to each other about game plans. And they’d talk to me about it too, but it wasn’t the same. Not like what we’re doing now,” Lindsay said in a recent interview with the TAPinto network.
Cannon’s football acumen will command more of the conversation the spring, as the senior helped launch the Hornets flag football team, a pioneering member program of the Shore Conference’s new flag football league. The venture aims to provide female student-athletes an opportunity to learn, develop and compete against other outfits across Monmouth and Ocean County.
A pilot program derived from a partnership between the Shore Conference and the New York Giants, the inaugural Shore Conference Flag Football season will kickoff on Wednesday, May 5, featuring programs from Matawan, Mater Dei Prep, Middletown North and South, Pinelands, Shore Regional and Holmdel.
Earlier this year the New York Jets also backed a pilot league with programs from the North Jersey Super Football Conference.
In addition to the Jets and Giants’ contributions to foster the growth of girls flag football in the Garden State, Nike has agreed to supply team jerseys and equipment.
The Shore Conference’s seven-week season will end with a pod-style playoffs format to crown the conference champions.
“I’m proud to be a part of this, because I feel like this is bigger than just our school and our conference,” Cannon said. “For women, our athletics programs aren’t always on the same level as men. We really didn’t have an opportunity to play football before this, but now that change is happening. This goes beyond athletics. It’s about equal opportunity. This is another step forward for women, and we’re proud to be facilitating that.”
Cannon is part of a 24-woman Hornets roster, which also includes her sister Allison, who will serve as the team’s quarterback.
Holmdel Flag Football Roster
Julianna Aiello; Alex Bauman; Kayla Bielan; Taylor Bielan; Allison Cannon; Lindsay Cannon; Fiona Ceka; Lainie Doran; Sophia Fanzini; Sarah Friedman; Elisa Gunawardana; Grace Koenig; Kate Koval; Emma Lionette; Tianna Mickens; Adrianna Morales; Angelina Nadi; Kayla Nastasi; Ava Rubano; Julia Saporito; Taylor Thomas; Katrina Walier; Alexandra Wojie; Margaret Wojie.
“It’s been so much fun working with this group because they love the game, and they’re eager to learn,” said Scott Cannon, who coaches the team alongside Melissa Menges, an educator and coach at Holmdel High School. “This is a team made up of a lot of multi-sport athletes who know what it takes to improve each day. They’re committed to creating something very special; something that will create opportunity for girls inside and outside their community.”
For the first season, conference game structure will be a seven-on-seven, half-field, format. Every week there will be two designated sites that host two games each, resulting in seven regular season games for all teams.
“There are a lot of girls in our community and around the country who love this game, and we need to do more to provide them the opportunity to pursue this passion,” Coach Cannon added. “This is a great first step by the Shore Conference, and I think next year you’re going to see this sport really take off, to the point where there will be opportunities, not just at the high school level, but college too. It’s an exciting time.”
Holmdel opens its season on Thursday, May 6 at Middletown South.
Holmdel Flag Football Schedule (all games begin at 6:30 p.m.)
Thursday, May 6 – Holmdel at Middletown South
Wednesday, May 12 – Middletown North at Holmdel
Wednesday, May 19 – Holmdel vs. Shore Reg (at Matawan Regional High School)
Tuesday, May 25 – Holmdel at Mater Dei Prep
Wednesday, June 2 – Holmdel at Pinelands
Wednesday June 9 – Holmdel vs. Middletown (at Matawan Regional High School)