Former Franklinton baseball, football player enjoying a new challenge at UL

Published 8:57 am Monday, January 12, 2015

At this time last year, Donovan Alonzo was in the beginning of his final semester at Franklinton High School. The first baseball practice of his final high school season was drawing closer, and he had played his final high school football game about six weeks earlier.

Now, the 2014 Franklinton High graduate has taken on a new challenge in his first year the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and is having fun.

Alonzo is a cheerleader for the Ragin’ Cajuns.

“I met a friend at orientation over the summer. He was a cheerleader and he told me about it,” Alonzo said. “We had a ‘get on board day’ around campus where the clubs try to get people to join. One of the cheerleaders asked me if I wanted to try out. I figured it would be something new, so I did it and made the team.”

One of the big things in cheerleading is stunting, which is throwing one of the girls up in the air and catching them.

“For football games, we had a usual game partner, but then we lost a bunch of our guys. For basketball, we have different game groups, so we mix it up a little bit,” Alonzo said.

The former Demons’ outfielder said it took about one or two stunts to get the timing down.

“The closest thing I can compare it to is a baseball swing,” Alonzo said. “You start basic and then work toward the more complicated things like toss lib, full-up and a rewind.”

A toss lib is one of the more complicated stunts. You throw them in the air and catch their right foot. When they are caught, they have their left knee bent and their left foot is against their right knee. A full up is when you throw her up in the air, spin her and catch her on one foot. On the rewind, the girl starts on the ground in front of the person throwing her up in the air. The person throws her into a backflip and then catches her.

Alonzo said there has to be much trust between the girls and the guys when it comes to tossing.

“Whenever we throw stunts in practice, we have a spotter so the girl doesn’t get hurt if something goes wrong,” Alonzo said.

The former Franklinton wide receiver said they practice for about 2 1/2 to three hours, three days per week.

“I’ve walked away from practice sweating as much as I did from some of our football practices. I didn’t realize how physically demanding it is, but I can’t stress how much fun it is. It’s a lot of fun,” Alonzo said.

He said to do this you need strong legs, a strong core and good flexibility in the shoulders.

Alonzo said the biggest moment so far for him cheerleading was at the football team’s final home game.

“It was about a two-minute routine with a lot of moving parts, and we nailed it,” Alonzo said. “We had worked on that routine for about two months.”

Alonzo said it involved baskets, which is throwing the girls really high with three people catching them, and the routine had pyramids.

Alonzo’s high school freshman and college freshman football seasons ended in the same place, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

In 2010, Alonzo was a member of the 2010 Franklinton High School state championship football team, which defeated Edna Karr, 34-28, in the finals.

Four years and nine days later, Alonzo was back in the dome for the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, where the Ragin’ Cajuns defeated Nevada, 16-3.

Alonzo said it was pretty cool to cheer in the Superdome.

“We had this stunt clinic we put on the day before,” Alonzo said. “We were pretty tired, but the adrenaline of the ball game kept us going.”

Alonzo is a mechanical engineering major.