Marshall Hamilton Stadium was full of Loonie spirit on Friday, August 28 when the Pride hosted the Panther Creek Catamounts for the season’s home opener. Although the Pride did not come out on top, the Loonie student section remained hype throughout the entire game.
Loonie excitement was evident even before the players entered the field. The sight of the new blow-up entrance tunnel was enough to get Loonies on their feet and ready to cheer for the three hour duration of the game.
After the players ran through the tunnel, Gerald, the Loonies adopted mascot, kept the crowd enthusiastic. Gerald is a piñata donkey who attends home and away sporting events. The “fable creature”, in Russ Frazier’s, Leesville men’s basketball coach, terms, is used to excite the crowd, especially during the less exciting parts of sporting events. Hopefully he will become part of the Leesville tradition over time.
In addition to Gerald, Frazier attributes the excitement in the student section to strong leadership found in the senior class. Davis Sampere, senior, has led the past two half-time breaks. Sampere followed the tradition of telling a story about the “mighty lion,” and also led a roller coaster simulation for the crowd. The seniors’ excitement throughout the game awakened the underclassmen, showing them what the Leesville Loonies are made of.
The Pride was down by 20 points at the half, but the crowd continued cheering and never lost hope. Clay Vick, starting quarterback and senior, said, “[The cheering] motivates us as soon as we walk out on the field…it motivates us to do better.”
The Loonies went so crazy at the game that the following Monday, coaches were amazed to find that the bleachers had been warped due to the amount of jumping in the student section. The current state of the bleachers shows just how supportive Leesville students are, win or lose.