When Brittany Lindon agreed to join the Prairie Ronde (La.) Northwest High football team, she had no idea which position she would play. Yet Lindon did make one thing abundantly clear to Northwest head football Darnell Lee: She wasn't going to be the team's place-kicker.
Instead, Lindon threw her hat in the ring to become one of the team's ball carriers, telling Lee that she wanted to be a fullback. A 5-foot-4, 190-pound athlete with plenty of force, Lindon wanted to run with the ball and block downfield, and she simply couldn't be talked out of it.
Fullback is not exactly a typical position for female football players. There are plenty of female place-kickers and a handful of female linemen scattered across the country. Thanks to Erin DiMeglio in Florida, there's now a female quarterback, too.
Now, as documented in great detail in this terrific piece by The Advertiser's Eric Narcisse, Lindon is getting her chance to add fullback to that list of football breakthroughs by girls.
"I really tried to talk her out of playing fullback and to just kick for us," Lee told the Advertiser. "But she told me, 'No, I want to run with the football.' I was just like OK.
"When you give her the football, she hits the hole. She is not the average-size girl. I mean she is about 5-4 with really big and strong legs."
A shot put and girls basketball star, Lindon is no newcomer to high school sports. Still, she was new to full contact sports, which became apparent on Friday, when Lindon got in on her first action during Northwest's 49-0 rout of Jeanerette (La.) High. With her team running down the clock, Lindon was turned to on a few plays during a late offensive possession.
The reaction from the crowd was immediate and measurable. Lee said that despite her lack of action, Lindon had built a devoted following. In her first-ever full competitive football play at any level, the teen took a handoff and was dropped for no gain at the line of scrimmage.
The hit left Lindon a bit shell-shocked, but not intimidated. A few plays later she was back on the field, taking another handoff and running down the field for a 5-yard gain. The result of that action was another set of tough Jeanerette tackles, again leading to her quick withdrawal from the game … though it didn't diminish her enthusiasm to get on the field more in the future.
"My heart was already beating very fast because I was in the game and now I'm getting the football," Lindon told the Advertiser. "I'm watching the quarterback and the entire time I'm thinking to myself, 'How am I going to do this?' Then I said, 'Come on Brittany, you can do this.'
"It felt really good to gain some yards the second time I ran with the football. It took like seven or eight of those guys to tackle me."
That tenacity bodes well for Lindon's future with the team. Her attitude certainly gives her teammates and coaches plenty of reasons to be enthused about her role with the team, which could even include some work on the goal line in the near future.
"I decided to take her out because I just want her to be a bit more aware," Lee said. "She runs upright and she really believes the padding protects her. But as soon as she came to the sidelines, she turned to me and said "OK coach, I want you to put me in on the goalline.'"
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