How El Paso Eastwood, Plano football teams wound up set to play again after cancellation

Photo: Mark Lambie/El Paso Times

How El Paso Eastwood, Plano football teams wound up set to play again after cancellation


How El Paso Eastwood, Plano football teams wound up set to play again after cancellation


On Thursday, after the Plano Independent School District canceled the Plano Senior High School home game against Eastwood set for Sept. 6, it appeared as though the Troopers were going to have to find another opponent.

But by Friday afternoon, the game was back on, albeit moved to Sept. 5 in Frisco at the Ford Center.

The tumultuous week began Monday when Ysleta Independent School District Superintendent Xavier De La Torre said he was contacted by Plano ISD officials about canceling the game.

Ysleta ISD officials offered to move the game to El Paso or a neutral place, such as Midland or Odessa, but those offers were rejected.

RELATED: Eastwood, Plano game cancelled

MORE: Game between Texas schools rescheduled

By Thursday, the game was canceled due to what Plano ISD said in a news release were safety concerns related to the Aug. 3 mass shooting at the Walmart near Cielo Vista Mall.

Plano ISD is is located in a large suburb north of Dallas. The 21-year-old white man suspected in the Walmart attack is a 2017 graduate of Plano Senior High School. He has been charged with capital murder and is being held without bond in El Paso. The shooting left 22 dead and 25 injured.

Federal officials have said they are considering hate-crime and firearms charges against the suspect and consider the attack an act of domestic terrorism carried out by a white supremacist.

Other teams offer to help Troopers

Eastwood football coach Julio Lopez and the players found out about the cancellation Wednesday. Afterward, other teams reached out about possibly playing the Troopers. Among those were Garland Naaman Forest, which is coached by former Del Valle coach Jesse Perales, Chandler High School from Arizona and Grace Brethren from California.

Lopez said his team was disappointed to hear about the cancellation but believed he and his staff could find another opponent. He said he felt confident something could be worked out.

Even Friday morning, it appeared as though the Troopers were going to play another team, either in El Paso or in another state. Lopez said he didn’t think the game with Plano would happen at all.

“We felt we were going to get another game and not leave our kids without a game to be played,” Lopez said. “We were working hard to get it done. Everything worked out and we’re glad to be taking on Plano.”

De La Torre held out hope

On Thursday, De La Torre expressed hope, even amid a growing social media firestorm, that a compromise with Plano still could be reached.

“We felt we were really missing an opportunity to come together as two communities who will always be somehow interrelated by the atrocities of Saturday, Aug. 3, and this could be an opportunity to rise above it,” De La Torre said. “Unite, promote healing and promote normalcy for our student-athletes and basically take the position that our communities, our school districts, our schools are bigger than this event, and that we would not let it define us.”

Read the rest of the story at the El Paso Times.

Eastwood High School football players donated their time Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. at the United Blood Services offices in East El Paso, Texas. Hundreds of donors flooded the donation centers in response to the mass shooting Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, at a Walmart near Cielo Vista Mall. (Photo: Mark Lambie/El Paso Times)


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