Before a Saturday afternoon game, high school football players paid tribute to the two teenage girls killed in Brentwood earlier this week.
On the Brentwood High School field, solemn players from the opposing team, Northport High School, each placed a white carnation sprayed with green — Brentwood’s school colors — below the scoreboard in honor of Nisa Mickens, 15, and Kayla Cuevas, 16.
Below the bleachers where Northport fans sat, a green banner with “Northport” and “Brentwood” in white — and a red heart between — hung from a fence. Dozens of Northport students and faculty members had signed it.
The flowers and banner were the idea of Northport Spanish teacher and 2009 Brentwood graduate Stephany Contreras, 25, who wanted to show support to a grieving high school.
“The message we have for the Brentwood community is that you are not alone,” she said. “We are your neighboring community. We are right there with you. We are standing with you united in solidarity.”
Mickens was found dead from an apparent beating on a sidewalk Tuesday night by a passing motorist, police said. Cuevas, who was also beaten, was found by a resident the next evening in woods not far from where her best friend was found.
A law enforcement source said Cuevas had recently gotten into a dispute in school with students believed to be MS-13 gang members. No arrests have been made in the case and no motive has been disclosed.
“Our criminal intelligence section is making strategic subject lists of known gang members, and we’re going to be targeting those folks very aggressively,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said Saturday.
Funeral services for Cuevas are being handled by the Michael J. Grant Funeral Home in Brentwood. Visitation has been scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9:30 p.m. Further details have not been released.
The Mickens family said funeral arrangements are pending.
Police are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the killings.
On Saturday afternoon, a steady stream of people visited makeshift memorials where the teens’ bodies were found.
They included Nathalia Reyes, 16, a close friend of Cuevas, who lit a candle. It was her third visit to the memorial in as many days.
“Ever since Kayla passed, I’ve felt empty,” Reyes said. “So I come here so I can feel all the love she gets from people who came here.”