Jennifer Canarutto's two-way play lifts Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK to Nassau flag football championship
At the heart of the Plainview-Old Bethpage flag football team is Jennifer Canarutto.
The two-way sophomore quarterback used both exceptional arm power and defensive prowess to secure the Nassau flag football championship crown in No.1 Plainview-Old Bethpage’s 7-6 win over No. 2 MacArthur at Long Beach Middle School Friday night.
“I’ve been playing since I was young, and I always dreamed of being a female Tom Brady,” said Canarutto, who threw for a touchdown and added seven flag pulls. “I wanted that feeling of winning a Super Bowl, and I feel like this is it. This is that feeling.”
Plainview-OB JFK's only score came after an interception from Rachel Ganz, who ran 45 yards to set up first-and-goal for the Hawks. Canarutto rushed for 10 yards and Ganz caught a 5-yard pass before Canarutto cannoned another to Lara Glasser to tie the score at 6 with 10:32 remaining in the second half. Canarutto connected with Ganz once more in the end zone for the extra-point conversion.
“As soon as I saw the ball in the air, I knew I could catch it,” Ganz said. “We needed that interception to fuel us. It really brought the energy back for us.”
The Hawks (16-0) were down 6-0 after MacArthur’s own interception by Lexie Thompson, who spun away from two defenders and carried the ball 31 yards for a touchdown seven minutes into the half. The Generals’ subsequent three-point conversion attempt was smacked down in the end zone by Glasser.
POBJFK was denied two attempts at touchdowns in the first half, with Sara Kealey and Ava Angiuli making interceptions for MacArthur (16-2) on first-and-goal and fourth-and-goal, respectively.
“MacArthur has a great defense so we knew that would be a challenge coming in,” coach Alec Abramowitz said. “But we also knew that we have our own defense that we could trust, and a smart quarterback who could finish strong for us.”
Glasser led the Hawks on defense, pulling eight flags. Gabi Weinstein added a sack with 1:08 remaining to deny the Generals a chance at a comeback.
“It was frustrating having those two interceptions, but I knew the game wasn’t over yet and at no point did I feel like I was going to quit,” Canarutto said. “We’ve been a strong team all season, and we were going to prove it today.”
POBJFK will face Half Hollow Hills (14-2) in the Long Island championship at noon on June 3 at Sachem East.