On Saturday, October 28th, the Jackson State Tigers freshman placekicker Leilani Armenta became the first woman to score in an HBCU Division-1 football game, as she connected on three extra points in Jackson State’s victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
With 5:35 left to go in the second quarter, Jackson State quarterback Jacobian Morgan threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end D.J. Stevens. History was made when kicker Leilani Armenta came on the field and successfully kicked the extra point.
After making the extra point, Armenta joined New Mexico’s Katie Hnida and Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller. Back in August 2003 Katie Hnida became the first woman to score in a Division-1 game when she scored against Texas State, and seventeen years later, Sarah Fuller scored an extra point against Tennessee.
A native of Ventura, California, Leilani Armenta attended high school at St. Bonaventure, where she was a member of the soccer team. In addition to playing soccer, Armenta kicked 98 extra points and five field goals during her career as her high school football team’s placekicker.
She would go on to join Jackson State University’s soccer team to play as a defender. Armenta was presented with the opportunity to be an active member of Jackson State’s football team when the Tigers starting kicker, Gerardo Baeza, went down with an injury.
Armenta made her college football debut on September 23rd against Bethune-Cookman in which she was used for a kickoff. Five weeks later, Armenta had her name added to the stat sheet as she scored her first point as a collegiate football player.
The 5’7″ placekicker scored her first point in the second quarter, but she wasn’t done for the day. In the fourth quarter, Jacobian Morgan threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Fabian McCray, and once again, Leilani Armenta hit the extra point.
A few minutes later, Morgan threw for his 5th touchdown when he hit D.J. Stevens for the 4-yard score. For the third time of the game, Leilani Armenta came on the field to add the extra point. Armenta had a perfect day as she went 3 for 3 in extra point attempts, and her team won by the score of 40-14.
The past four weeks have been historical for women at HBCUs. In addition to Leilani Armenta, back on September 30th, India Pulphus of Shaw University made an extra point in a loss to Virginia State, and it marked the first time a woman scored a point in a CIAA football game.
The CIAA teams are HBCU programs that are labeled as Division-2 football teams. Leilani Armenta and India Pulphus represented on both divisional levels for their respective HBCUs. Although Leilani Armenta is a member of Jackson State’s football team, her participation in Saturday’s game was unexpected.
“We did not know it was going to happen, and we are super excited. We all started yelling because we had no idea,” Brandy Armenta, Leilani’s mother, told The Clarion-Ledger. “My daughter had no idea she would be kicking in the game today. We are beyond ecstatic.”
For more sports news by Vince D’Writer, click here.