In the shadows of Friday night lights: Scottsdale cheerleaders

(file photo)

(file photo)

September is here, which means Friday night lights is in full swing.

In the battle between the Desert Mountain Wolves and the Notre Dame Saints both teams’ high powered offenses’ were on full display.

In the shadows of the bright lights between the rowdy fans and the players, there’s another competition in full swing that many fail to acknowledge or recognize.

For the cheerleaders it’s game day too.  They’re on the field getting ready and warming up an hour before game time in 110 degree weather, just like the football team is.

“We’re not competing against the other cheer team, I think we’re competing against ourselves,” said senior cheer captain Nina Shore. “We’re seeing what level we can get to in front of a crowd that were trying to impress and advance our skills for.”

In the first quarter Desert Mountain fell behind quickly but was able to claw their way back into the game in the second quarter, going into halftime only down 21-14.

In the first half the cheerleaders completed 19 cheers, four stunt sequences alongside countless back handsprings and back tucks.

At halftime, the cheerleaders came out ready to impress, as they hit each move in their routine to Fight Song by Rachel Platten.

The captains had harsh criticism for their team’s halftime performance as they listed off a plethora of things they could have done better: timing, tightness and being clean.

Their coach believed they did much better than the captains originally thought.

“I was really proud of them, they did a really good job with it,” said head cheer coach Eric Contreras. “They looked a little nervous… but they did a good job, they hit their stunts and did their tumbling, they did great.”

In the third quarter the football team came out with vengeance, running the ball into the end zone right out of the gate.  And the cheerleaders looked to be more excited than the football team as they waved their pom-poms. Some cheerleaders fell to the track with excitement.

The Saints answered right back, and ended the third quarter up on the home team 35-28.

The cheer squad rang in the fourth quarter with the sound of their pom-poms ruffling together and the “I believe” chant.

Cheer ended the night completing over 40 cheers, a halftime routine and eight stunt sequences. Not to mention too many roundoff back handsprings, standing tucks and standing back tucks to count.

While the football team may have fallen by a score of 56-42, the cheer captains think their squad came out on top.

“It was a win because it was our first game and we performed a good halftime routine.” said junior captain Alyssa LaRosa.

The team will go into next weeks 6 a.m. practices with a game plan.

“We had some issues, some girls get too excited and are moving out of formation,” said Coach Contreras. “The captains are having a hard time with them remembering their responsibilities. It’s no different than the football players- do your job out there on the field, you do your job here on the sidelines.”

Editor’s Note: Ms. O’Carroll is a student journalist at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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