HARRIS COUNTY, Ga. (WRBL) – Football players are often admired for the hard work they put in all summer long to prove themselves on the field under the Friday night lights but they aren’t alone. Sideline cheerleaders keep the energy high and spirits up on and off the sideline ahead of the Friday night games.
“We can not, it doesn’t matter how bad we’re doing, we cannot stop smiling,” said Harris County High School Varsity Cheer Captain Payton Jackson. “We have to because our energy reflects onto the student section and the football players and everything. So we have to make sure that we’re doing our job, staying in stance listening to the captains and everything.”
Way more than smiling goes into sideline cheerleading. Making signs, learning formations, having sharp motions and more are just some of what HCHS Varsity Football Cheer Coach Melody Lindsey expects of the athletes.
“They have about 75 cheers to learn, they have to know the motions they have to get the timing correct, so they’re in sync, they have to do everything in unison, everything has to be sharp and clean and precise,” said Lindsey.
The process for getting the team ready for the Friday night lights begins all the way in March with information meetings and events, next is several days of tryouts in the spring and finally summer practices begin in June. They practice all summer long into fall in the Georgia heat.
“And then we also always go or we usually do go outside in like the heat and stuff because during games it’s also really hot,” said HCHS Varsity Cheer Captain Kayla Davis.
Most may not know how much work goes into sideline cheering, but they do notice if the cheerleaders energy or high spirit is missing.
“If we’re like not like dressed up or we don’t look we’re excited for the game like I’ve had so many of my friends or like other students be like oh is this like a bad game or why aren’t y’all dressed up for it,” said Davis. “Ya know stuff like that so if we’re not involved then the school usually isn’t involved.”