Going behind the scenes with a dancer, football player and mascot on homecoming day

Junior Brady Smith dances during the homecoming parade alongside her teammates. Smith's homecoming story is the first of our three-part narrative.
Photo by Kayla Drake

KAYLA DRAKE, TYLER KEOHANE, LUPE MEDINA

“Homecoming Narratives” is a series based on the behind the scenes of this game day tradition featuring its most prominent figures: a dancer, football player and the mascot. 

video by Kayla Drake

Brady Smith is a junior studying Public Health, but most people recognize her as a Lion Line dancer on game day. 

Smith said she has been dancing since she was two years old and as a result has been wearing fake eyelashes since she was six years old.

The best part of homecoming for Smith is being able to look out into the crowds and see the different athletic teams in the stands.

“Lions support lions, it’s cheesy, but it’s true,” she said.

video by Tyler Keohane

Antonio “Tone” Davis plays defensive tackle for the Lions football team. He maintains his calm demeanor during homecoming, despite going up against the #11 ranked Division II team.

On game day, Davis said he plays for his family back home in Columbus, Ohio, and teammates.

“I’m not going to let them down,” Davis said. “My teammates know that I’m going to play at 100 percent every play, every chance that I get. I just want them to keep believing in me, as I believe in them, with all my heart.” 

Davis said he feels an adrenaline rush looking into the stands because the fans, especially his loved ones, encourage him. 

 

video by Kayla Drake and Lupe Medina

Most people recognize Leo the Lion on game day, but behind the mask is Aki Herron. 

Herron was a cheerleader during his time at Lindenwood and has been “mascoting” for three years. His cheer background is what enables Leo to do flips during games.

Herron said he drinks a gallon of water and always a Bang energy drink before games to match the crowd’s energy. 

After going through three different mascot uniforms over the years, Herron said he has created Leo as a playful character.

“I’m an entertainer at heart,” Herron said. “I love to be around, in the moment having fun and just giving school spirit.”

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About Kayla Drake 141 Articles
Kayla is our multimedia producer, so basically all things video and podcasts. She prefers to cover human interest stories because she believes we learn best by hearing personal testimonies of grief, passion, tribulation and activism. When Kayla is not editing or writing, most likely she is either hiking or eating. And by eating she doesn’t mean fast food, college grub, but the St. Louis restaurant scene (which is to die for). She is a proud St. Louisan and is passionate about being a part in the city's redemption. Look for the girl with the stickered out water bottle on campus and say hi.