KHS cheerleaders brave cold for team

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Killingly - posted Mon., Dec. 2, 2013
Killingly cheerleaders brave the cold and get ready for their halftime routine. Photos by D. Coffey.
Killingly cheerleaders brave the cold and get ready for their halftime routine. Photos by D. Coffey.

Just minutes into the start of the Thanksgiving game, the Killingly High School football team fell behind 6-0. The KHS cheerleaders had to get to work, encouraging their team and the fans watching from the stands. It wasn’t the easiest way to start off the biggest game of the year.

With a repertoire of cheers, chants, dances and stunts, the KHS cheer squad has to be ready to respond to whatever is happening on the field. Senior captains Danielle Nool and Brooke Bellisle are constantly watching what’s going on. The cheerleaders act accordingly. If the team is winning, they’ll lead the audience in school songs. If the team if losing, they’ll do their best to pump up the team and the crowd as well.

“The girls are really good about cheering and yelling out to the boys individually or giving words of encouragement,” said coach Audrey Jones. And while that may be true, fumbles and two touchdowns by the Quinebaug Valley Pride had the Redmen on their heels at halftime, 14-0.

It could have been an inspiring speech by coach Chad Neal, or a brief rest that gave the Redmen their legs again. And the crowd and team were most surely energized by a halftime routine that sent Redgals flying into the air in basket tosses. They danced. They did stunts and jumps. They made ball-back and star-down pyramids.

When the Redmen scored their first touchdown early in the fourth quarter, the cheerleaders got down and did six pushups. (The Redmen weren’t able to convert for additional points.) It’s a routine they follow whenever Killingly scores.

“If the score is 21, we’ll do 21 pushups,” said Bellisle. “And if its 107, we’ll do 107. Coach Jones says the boys play hard so we have to work hard too.”

It took the Redgals until the fourth quarter before those cheers starting hitting their mark. The Redmen substituted quarterbacks, got their running game going, scored once and nearly scored twice before getting stopped inside the 5-yard line when time ran out.

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