FRISCO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Players from El Paso’s Eastwood High received a VIP’s welcome as they arrived at The Star in Frisco to play Plano Senior High in a game initially cancelled over security concerns.
Passing through a crowd of fans and Cowboys’ cheerleaders, they found the team owner, Jerry Jones, waiting to shake each of their hands.
“Amazing. Amazing. Really great,” said one player of the reception.
Eastwood High is located just over two miles from the Walmart where 22 people were murdered last month; Plano Senior High is the school the suspect graduated from.
The two teams were scheduled to play, but after the mass shooting, Plano ISD cancelled the game citing potential safety issues.
The Cowboys stepped in to offer the use of their practice facility.
“Couldn’t be any more meaningful to us. We’re so sorry for the tragedy,” said Jones.
El Paso fans rode nearly 12 hours on a bus overnight to watch the game.
“There’s a lot of emotion,” said David Grajeda, whose son is on the team. “I’m running on zero hours of sleep, but I’m hyped for the game.”
The schools paid tribute to victims of the shooting with a moment of silence.
Gifts exchanged between the team, including a unity circle welded by Plano Senior High students, emphasized solidarity.
At halftime, both schools’ bands hit the field together to play Eastwood’s fight song.
“When our student athletes return, win or lose, the experience they have here will forever change their lives,” said Ysleta ISD superintendent Xavier De La Torre.