Sitting in the back of a pickup truck parked down the third base line after Sunday church, overlooking a then-fenceless Cracker Brown Field on Northwestern State’s campus.
It’s not David Antilley II’s first memory of Demon baseball games with his father, also named David Antilley, but it’s a vivid image illustrating the Antilleys’ relationship watching NSU athletics.
“Davey” and “Pops” haven’t just watched NSU sports together all of Davey’s life — they’ve actively played various roles.
Davey, executive director of NSU TV, helps NSU athletics by filming interviews, engineering football radio broadcasts and directing student television crews at basketball games.
He started with the college campus radio station KNWD in 1988 as a student and became a statistician at local station KZBL for NSU sports broadcasts in 1989, ushering in a nearly three-decade run of working at NSU sporting events.
Shortly after, Davey involved his father as a statistician, and the pair have built an Antilley legacy behind the scenes of Demon athletics.
“A lot of people go to athletics events with their fathers, but I’m lucky because I’ve been able to work events with my dad,” Davey said. “It’s something nobody can take away from me.”
Antilley roots run deep in Natchitoches as a branch of the Prudhomme/Cloutier family tree — two of the oldest family names in the area.
Davey and his siblings never looked outside of NSU for rooting interests or for college.
“We bleed purple, and it blessed my heart to take my kids to the NSU ball games to see the Demons,” said Pops, a two-year letterman with NSU baseball in 1963-64. “All three of my kids went to Northwestern — it’s a family university to us.”
Baseball is Pops’ favorite sport. One can still find the senior Antilley keeping the score book in the old school baseball press box. His veteran eyes, although he says he can’t see as well as he once did, aid younger scorekeepers in football, basketball and baseball.
While father and son might not sit elbow to elbow in crowded press boxes or press rows much anymore, working NSU contests still has a family feel.
Davey, who lives an hour from Natchitoches in Grant Parish, will spend the night at his father’s house on Cane River Lake before a football game and visit.
“The next day, I get to see him do his work with the television and radio guys,” said Pops, a 72-year-old who retired from Suddenlink Communications this spring after 20 years with the company. “It means a lot to me.
“It’s special because we do it together. We went to a lot of games. Now my grandchildren come to games, and my granddaughter will be coming to NSU next year. We love coming to watch Northwestern State sports.”
One of Davey’s best recent memories occurred when his twin sons Joshua and Jacob (now eight years old) were in his arms, sitting next to Pops while he scored a baseball game in the Brown-Stroud press box.
“Three generations of Antilley’s in a baseball press box — you can’t take that memory away,” Davey said. “We try to get our boys to as many NSU games as possible.
“In two more years, they’ll be working cameras for me during breaks from school.”
Davey also credits his wife Janna for allowing him to work countless nights and weekends.
“We joke that even though my wife isn’t a coach’s wife, she kind of is,” Davey said. “It’s about making NSU look great and sharing NSU with the world, whether it’s streaming radio or TV or whatever.
“We want to put out a good picture with good sound and have people enjoy it. We’re sharing with people who might not be able to come to a home event so they can share in the excitement.”
Davey says he’s strong in his Christian faith, but there’ll be some music representing Demonland at his funeral.
“When I die, I want them to play the fight song as they roll me out of the church,” Davey said. “’Go Ye Demons’ will be blaring.
“I live and die for the Demons.”
Hardamon/NSU Photographic Services