° empty

Senior cheerleaders say farewell at last home game of season

Ben Hillyer/The Natchez Democrat — Adams County Christian School senior cheerleaders give reassuring hugs at the end of their last home game Friday night.

NATCHEZ — The final horn sounded Friday night at Bobby Marks Stadium on the campus of Adams County Christian School, but several Rebels were not ready to leave the field.

It was senior night for the ACCS football team, and tears flowed despite comforting hugs as the senior football players wrapped up their home football careers with a disappointing record.

But there were also seven other Rebels on the sidelines who were equally devastated.

Ashton Mason, Merritt Murray, Abby Givens, Jessica Reynolds, Molly Simpson Elizabeth Fazzio and Leigh Kaiser cheered at their last home game for the Rebels Friday night, and the girls were sad it came to an end, Simpson said.

“I wasn’t disappointed (in the loss), because I love my team, but it was our last time to play on our field, and we were upset we weren’t going to get to cheer there anymore,” Simpson said.

“We just talked about how our guys are going to be crying, and it would be harder for us to stay strong. We just all sat out there (on the 50-yard line), the seniors did, and cried for like an hour.”

Simpson, who started cheering at ACCS this year, said she would miss cheering for football, but she would miss her friends more.

“After we graduate, we are never going to see each other again, and none of us will cheer again or play football unless they have a scholarship, so it was hard for us,” she said.

Cheerleading captain Ashton Mason said this was a tough season for the Rebels, but the cheerleaders and the players gave everything they had each Friday.

“In the game last night, a lot of our senior guys were out with injuries, and it really was hard to watch them have to sit on the sidelines on senior night,” she said. “But the rest of the guys gave it what they could. I know the guys are really proud of the juniors and sophomores for stepping up like they did.”

Mason said her favorite moment of the Rebels’ 35-19 loss to Brookhaven Academy was seeing fellow senior Tristan Beach score a touchdown late in the game.

With the arrival of David King as head coach this summer, Mason said she knew it could be a tough year for her team.

“We kind of knew it would be a rebuilding year with a new coach and a new system, so we were kind of prepared for it,” she said. “They guys took it really well and stepped up to be really good leaders.”

Despite the tough season, the Rebel players always knew the cheerleaders had their backs, Mason said.

“One of the players told me one time that they are on the sideline, and even if they are losing they still hear us doing cheers to keep their heads up,” she said. “We just try to be peppy and have good spirit to keep their (spirit) up.”

Ashton’s grandmother Judy is also the cheerleading coach, and she said she would miss the girls and their hard work.

“They’ve been really close, and they were all just sobbing, because it was their last home game to cheer at,” Judy said.

The Lady Rebels have done a great job this season, Judy said.

“They help get the crowd motivated and encourage the boys when they are down,” Judy said. “They try to keep the school spirit up even when it’s difficult.

“They get pretty intense with it, and most of them know enough about football to recognize what’s going on on the playing field.”

The girls attended and did well at UCA camp this summer, and three Lady Rebels, Mason, Givens and junior Lauren King won individual honors.

Ashton has several options on the table for college next year, including Mississippi College and Ole Miss. She said if she goes to Mississippi College she plans on trying out for the cheerleading squad.

Simpson said she would probably attend Baton Rouge Community College.

The Rebels will play their final game of the season Friday at Columbia Academy.