Jackson State defeated Bethune Cookman in the W.C. Gorden Classic with the biggest storyline of the evening surrounding surprise kicker Leilina Armenta.
Armenta, who plays on the Jackson State women’s soccer team, was added to the football roster earlier in the week due to injuries. On the opening play, the freshman kicked off to become the first female to kick in a game in HBCU history.
K Leilana Armenta is the first woman player in Jackson State University football history and is believed to be the first woman to kick in HBCU Division I history. Armenta, a freshman on the JSU soccer team from Ventura, Ca., was added to the roster this week due to injuries. pic.twitter.com/wuQn68TkcF
— Jackson State Football (@gojsutigersfb) September 23, 2023
Even though Armenta is not the first female member of an HBCU football program, she is the first in Jackson State history. She helped headline a historic day for multiple women across college football.
Earlier in the afternoon, Haley Van Voorhis of Division III Shenandoah University became the first woman non-kicker to play in an NCAA game. The junior safety logged a quarterback hurry when she checked into the Hornets’ 48-7 win over Juanita.
While Armenta did not get a chance to kick again after the opening kickoff, Jackson State did go on to find a come-from-behind win over Bethune Cookman. After trailing 9-8 at halftime, the Tigers got back on track in the second half and came away with the 22-16 victory.
Quarterback Jason Brown went 13 of 24 passing for 90 yards with one touchdown and an interception while running back Irv Mulligan rushed for 174 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. Next up for Jackson State (3-2, 1-1 SWAC) is a neutral site matchup against Alabama A&M in Mobile, Ala.