FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) — The on-again, off-again football game between Plano Senior High School and El Paso’s Eastwood High School is getting ready to kick off at The Star in Frisco Thursday night.
The matchup was originally cancelled by Plano ISD due to safety concerns following the fatal mass shooting in El Paso committed by a former student. But Frisco ISD and the Dallas Cowboys had a solution.
When they arrived, the Eastwood team received a hero’s welcome. Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones even shook each of their hands and told them how sorry he was for the tragedy and how honored he was to have them here — all for a game that almost didn’t happen.
However, Eastwood fan Alexis Archuleta said even though they’re playing at the Ford Center, she was disappointed Plano didn’t make her school feel “at home.”
“It was just a little disappointing when they didn’t make us feel at home at their stadium. But Frisco made us feel at home, and the Dallas Cowboys made us feel at home,” Archuleta said.
But Ysleta ISD Superintendent Xavier De La Torre said they have felt Plano’s warm welcome.
“They’ve really tried to provide the gold standard in terms of being a great host,” De La Torre said. “They want it to reflect well on their school district, they want it to reflect well on their city, and so when Eastwood players take the field tonight, the Plano band will play their fight song.”
Plano booster clubs made T-shirts bearing both team’s logos, and a moment of silence and gift exchange will precede the big game.
Fans said the tragedy will be on everyone’s mind.
Cynthia Arzola of El Paso said she expects to have the feeling of mourning but wants to show the kids that moving forward is possible.
“I’m probably going to have that tonight — that feeling of being in mourning, but at the same time showing these kids that we can move forward, and though one will win and one will lose, there’s a bigger life lesson here for all,” Arzola said.