A prank text message led to the cancellation of Friday night’s high school football game between Tornillo and Fabens.
The text message, sent by a Fabens High School student to a Tornillo High School student, was considered a potential threat. As a safety precaution, Tornillo school district officials decided to cancel the game, which was Fabens’ homecoming.
“An inappropriate text message which was sent by a Fabens student to a Tornillo student triggered Tornillo to cancel the game,” Fabens Independent School District Superintendent Poncho Garcia said. “An investigation was conducted by law enforcement, who were able to identify the student and interviewed the student yesterday. The student said it was a prank and not a threat.”
Garcia did not know what was in the text message, but said he was told that it was “inappropriate.”
Both schools’ coaches confirmed that the game was canceled as safety precaution.
“After consulting with the parents of the players in our program, our administration has decided as a school not to play the game vs. Fabens,” Tornillo football and athletic director Cody Burris said. “We are doing it out of safety for our kids.”
Tornillo Independent School District Superintendent Rosy Vega-Barrio said on Twitter that an investigation was conducted and officials do not believe there is a safety risk to the students.
“The football game vs Fabens has been cancelled after a threat was made to our football team,” Vega-Barrio said on Twitter. “The student who made the threat was investigated by the local authorities. It was determined that there is no danger to our students. As a precaution, the game is cancelled.”
El Paso County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Leslie Antunez said the sheriff’s office was notified Thursday of a “possible threat that would take place during the Tornillo-Fabens football game.”
She added, “Through the course of the investigation, investigators determined that the threat was not credible.”
No other information was released by the sheriff’s office.
Tornillo Independent School District Assistant Superintendent Rod Portillo said that despite the sheriff’s officials finding no immediate threat, parents didn’t want to risk their children’s safety.
“Local authorities investigated and found that there was no immediate threat, but just as a precaution we didn’t want our students to be there, so we canceled the game,” he said in a phone interview. “Parents of most of the football players had decided not to send them to the game — we already don’t have a big team — so we decided it was best to cancel the game.”
Portillo said he did not know the specific details of the threat.
The game between the two schools was Fabens’ homecoming game.
“We tried to get Tornillo to reconsider and play the game by offering to move the game to another site,” Garcia said. “But Tornillo and their parents decided not to play the game as a precaution.”
He added, “It is very disheartening that our homecoming had to be canceled because of a prank test message, but that is what happened.”
Garcia said Fabens will now celebrate their homecoming at their next home game against Anthony High School on Oct. 12.
“We will make up for it, so our kids can have their homecoming,” Garcia said. “Especially for our senior. It is very disheartening that it had to be canceled, but our kids will get to celebrate their homecoming.”