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SportsHigh SchoolFootball

Long Island girls awarded for their football accomplishments

Hannah Martin, Alexis Saladino, Amber Seifts, Mia Advocate, Cayleigh Kunnmann and Megan Benzing were honored by Modells and Newsday.

From left, Cayleigh Kunnmann of Bay Shore, Alexis

From left, Cayleigh Kunnmann of Bay Shore, Alexis Saladino of Newfield, Amber Seifts of Centereach, Hannah Martin of Patchogue-Medford, Megan Benzing of Mepham and Mia Advocate of Calhoun pose for a group photo at Modell's in Farmingdale on Monday, Nov. 21, 2017. Photo Credit: James Escher

Now that her own high school football career is through the goal posts, Patchogue-Medford’s Hannah Martin is working on getting more girls on the gridiron — mainly her sister, Hailey .

“I’m starting to get her into it,” Martin said with a laugh.

Martin was one of six girls playing varsity high school football profiled in an October Newsday story. All six were honored by Newsday, Modell’s and the Jets as part of a female football recognition ceremony in Farmingdale Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s definitely amazing how it started and how more and more girls are starting and continuing to play,” Martin said.

Martin, along with Newfield’s Alexis Saladino, Centreach’s Amber Seifts, Calhoun’s Mia Advocate, Bay Shore’s Cayleigh Kunnmann, and Mepham’s Megan Benzing all received backpacks full of Modell’s merchandise and footballs autographed by Jets kicker Chandler Catanzaro, safety Jamal Adams or linebacker Darron Lee.

“It’s probably one of the coolest things I’ve done in my sports career,” Seifts said of being honored. “I never expected it to happen. We were all really excited to get the call. The fact that we all thought our season was over and we got to put on our jersey one last time was really cool.”

Seifts, who joined the team this season, patrolled the defensive backfield, alternating between safety and cornerback.

“I learned what family really is with these guys,” she said. “No one really thought that I’d be able to do anything with the team and, once the season got going, they were the best group of people I’ve ever met.”

Kunnmann, who is a linebacker, has played four years of high school football and said she got more and more comfortable on the field as the years passed.

“I’m a lot more confident in my abilities,” she said.

Martin set a school record with nine extra points in a 68-19 Patchogue-Medford victory over Whitman on Oct. 21. She kicked a 19-yard game-winning field goal in overtime to beat Connetquot on Oct. 28 and clinch a playoff berth.

“It was my favorite moment of my career,” Martin said.

These six, who were part of at least nine known female varsity high school football players this season, certainly hope they’re only the beginning of a trend. They want to be the trailblazers, not the outliers.

“I feel like we’re an inspirational group,” Seifts said. “We all know how it feels to be left out of something and then pulled back into it . . . Life’s too short to just sit on the sidelines. You need to go for it .”

“It’s a really cool feeling to know that we inspire people and set a precedent,” Kunnmann said.

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