For Sweeney, being a cheerleader meant more than demonstrating school spirit. It is also was about providing support and encouragement to family members.


Her father, Zane Sweeney, is Sultana's head football coach. Her brother Cade is on the team. (Older brother Zach, who graduated in 2007, was a football standout and state-ranked wrestler.)


"We were on the field together, so we were able to share the experience," Sweeney said. "It's 'Friday Night Lights.'"


However, while Sultana's cheerleading season was stellar, the Sultana varsity football team had its struggles. But that just gave Sweeney, a senior, an even greater sense of purpose.


"We were there to support the boys [football players]," she said. "We never had our spirit go down. We were constantly supporting the team and leading the crowd."