The snap was crisp, the hold good, the kick fluid.
And with that, Elmont High School junior Amira Elrington-Edwards made history.
She became the first female to play and score a point in a varsity football game in the Sewanhaka school district, which includes Elmont, New Hyde Park, Carey, Floral Park and Sewanhaka high schools, according to Elmont athletic director Kru Patel.
“It just felt like girl power," Elrington-Edwards said. "It felt really good to be the first and blaze a trail for other girls."
The player with braids flowing from her helmet added a second extra point in Elmont's season-opening 35-14 loss to Carey on Sept. 2.
“Even though we lost, it was still a win in our eyes," senior wide receiver Osagie Ekhator said. “Once she kicked [the first extra point], everybody was happy on the sidelines jumping around."
Elrington-Edwards is more than just the kicker on the football team. In fact, a lot more. She's also a star soccer player who runs track and excels in the classroom.
The support of her teammates in both sports has meant a lot to Elrington-Edwards.
“The first game, I [was] definitely nervous. I felt a lot of pressure because it was a home game,” Elrington-Edwards said. “My soccer team, family, and friends were in the crowd ... but it was very exhilarating. I needed to get the experience of doing it in game. I feel much more comfortable now.”
'An ideal student'
Tommy Innes, the school's first-year varsity football coach, recognized her leadership abilities when she was in his AP World History class last year.
“When you talk about an ideal student, Amira is exactly that,” Innes said. “She participates, leads in class and excels in her honors and AP courses. Then, I found out she is a phenomenal soccer player."
Innes was the JV football coach last season and approached Elrington-Edwards about kicking for the team.
"Our [JV] team needed a kicker and some of the guys were like, ‘Hey, Amira can kick,’ ” Innes said.
Elrington-Edwards was too busy to add another commitment to her already jam-packed schedule. But when Innes was elevated to the varsity coach position before this season, he figured he would try again.
This time, she was ready.
“I felt like it was the perfect opportunity to join the team," Elrington-Edwards said. “Luckily, the games and practices are at different times, but if soccer is where I need to be, then that’s where I’ll go.”
“She came home and said, ‘I’m going to do it,’ " her aunt, Chantel Edwards, said. “I asked if she was going to be comfortable on the team and she explained how she knew most of the players and thought it would be a lot of fun. From that day on, she was just as committed to it as she has been to anything else.”
And just as successful.
On the soccer pitch, Elrington-Edwards, a three-year captain and midfielder, was 10th on Long Island in points last season with 14 goals and nine assists and, through Tuesday's games, has scored both goals this season for Elmont (0-3).
"My [football] coaches know how important soccer is to me," Elrington-Edwards said, "so they’re very understanding about preventing injuries and balancing my schedule.”
Elrington-Edwards is hoping to play soccer in college.
“There was definitely a little hesitation because I didn’t want her getting hurt playing football, but she seemed adamant that she would be all right and that it was something that she really wanted to do,” Elmont girls soccer coach Ahmed Hayat said. “I thought it was an excellent opportunity for her to fulfill her skillset and show her athletic ability. As her coach I just wanted to see her succeed.”
Though soccer is her priority, she’s quickly developing a love for kicking a football and being on the team. She is 7-for-9 on extra points after three games as Elmont has started 2-1.
“It’s a lot different than kicking a soccer ball. I had to adjust some things, but I wouldn’t say it’s more difficult,” Elrington-Edwards said. “I think what I enjoy most is the feeling of having your teammates there with you on the field, cheering you on. It makes it mean so much more.”
Senior running back Isaiah Davis said her dedication has motivated the team.
“We were all really excited to have her,” Davis said. “We’ll be in practice, and she’ll miss a field goal and won’t just brush it off. She’ll make sure she hits the next one, and the next one, and she’s also not afraid to say, ‘Coach, one more, let's get it right.’ She cares about this team and doesn’t want to disappoint.”
Elrington-Edwards also hopes her accomplishments on the field will be an inspiration to the young girls watching from the stands.
“I know I’m not the first girl ever to kick for a football team, but I hope that I can help more girls feel less intimidated about doing it,” Elrington-Edwards said. “It would be really cool to have other girls on the team. I say if you love the game, face your fears and do it.”