These are the nameless, faceless school mascots, who as part of the cheerleading squad, bring their antics to add another layer to the total experience of high school football.
It takes a special student to become the school mascot, explained Lora McAdams, cheerleading coach at Alexander High School.
“They have to have school spirit,” she said, “and be someone who will go out and not be embarrassed and hug children.”
Seniors Eric Arnold and Ben Caplinger are such students.
Arnold, a varsity basketball starter for the past two years and pitcher for Alexander’s baseball team, wanted to play football, but “basketball wouldn’t let me,” he said.
His cheerleader girlfriend urged him “pretty bad” to become the school’s mascot.
“Someone has to do it,” he said. “It’s senior year and I want to go all out and not have regrets.”
He and Caplinger tag-team the role, switching off as the Cougar mascot during the game.
Caplinger, who is on Alexander’s swim team and a JROTC cadet, was a natural, Arnold said.
“Ben is always dressed up at games with full body paint, so he was a natural to step up.”
Under the Douglas County High School Tiger costume are mascots Jahna Lane-Davis and Paris Moss, both seniors.
Lane-Davis was motivated to take on the Tiger mascot role based on the woodchuck mascot character in the movie, “Easy A,” she said.
“I wanted to be it (mascot) because I’d seen people act crazy in the movies and pump up the crowd with spirit,” she said.
Moss said that she “just fell into it.”
“Jahna couldn’t be there, so I was asked to step in,” she said. “You can be a different person in the costume, and you get lots of love and school spirit.”
What does Moss like least about being the mascot?
“The heat inside the suit,” she admitted.
Lane-Davis echoed that it is “very, very hot in the suit, even when wearing shorts and a tank top, it is extreme.”
What do they like the most?
“When people see you — especially children — their faces just light up and show what pride they have in the school. I like that a lot,” Moss said.
“Most of the time,”admitted Lane-Davis, “people are really nice to us, but some try to be mean like pulling on the tail — but nothing serious.”