By J.T. Keith
PINE BLUFF, Ark. — Jackson State kicker Leilani Armenta became the first female to score a point in an HBCU game at the FCS level when she kicked an extra point Saturday in a game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
The freshman, who debuted with the Tigers on Sept. 23 against Bethune-Cookman, made the extra point attempt after quarterback JaCobian Morgan threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end D. J. Stevens with 5:25 left in the second quarter. That gave Jackson State a 23-0 lead.
She was successful on two extra point attempts in the fourth quarter.
Armenta is on the Tigers soccer team and coming off an ACL injury suffered the season before. After the Bethune-Cookman game, in which she was used for a kickoff, coach T.C. Taylor said he wanted to let Armenta get her leg in kicking shape.
“We did not know it was going to happen and we are super excited,” Leilani’s mother, Brandy Armenta, said. “We all started yelling because we had no idea. My daughter had no idea she would be kicking in the game today. We are beyond ecstatic.”
Taylor’s decision to use Armenta against Bethune-Cookman was out of necessity. The Tigers’ usual kicker, Gerardo Baeza, had been injured in the Texas State game. All-American punter Matt Noll was injured in practice the week leading into the game.
On Sept. 30, India Pulphus kicked an extra point for Shaw University in an HBCU Division II game against Virginia State. She was the first female to score in school and CIAA football history.