Cheerleaders return after teammate's death

Team returns after cheerleader's death

The sidelines of the Baptist Hill vs. Stall high school football game was complete with pom-poms, signs and cheerleaders.

But there was one teammate missing from the Baptist Hill squad.

"It was very sad -- not seeing her, not cheering with her, not seeing her at practice everyday.  It was very emotional," Cheerleader Laqueisha Jenkins says.

Sixteen-year-old Antoinette Ross was killed last June in a car crash.  At the time, she was driving to cheerleading practice.

"There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about her," Coach Chrisonia Williams-Busch says.  "If I'm on my way to practice, I drive that same route and I think about her every time, every day."

But Antoinette's coaches and teammates have carried on through summer practices, until today: the first week of the high school football season.

"We were very close and it's not the same," Cheerleader O'Daysha Johnson says.  "As people said -- we were going to come back and be captains and try to go to competition and be the leaders of the team, and now it's only me left.  But you have to be strong for the team."

The team is incorporating Antoinette's memory into their gear.  For their competition uniforms, the team will have her name stitched into their skirts.  They'll also wear yellow ribbons in their hair, which was Antoinette's favorite color.

"We've pretty much dedicated the season to her and in everything we do, we keep her in mind and we always say, 'she has our back'," Coach Michelle Govan-Seymore says.