The Eastwood Troopers were hoping to head into their big matchup against Plano Senior High School this week with some momentum, but the Americas Trail Blazers had other ideas.
The Troopers lost to Americas, 63-0 in just the Troopers’ first game of the season.
Eastwood head coach Julio Lopez says the one game does not define them, and the team is hoping to bounce back when the two teams square off at the Ford Center at The Star on Thursday.
Coach Lopez admits his players weren’t focused on Friday against Americas, and he believes the Plano game had something to do with it.
“We had a lot of distractions that were focused on this week (Eastwood’s game against Plano), so I think that definitely played a role,” Coach Lopez said. “Ultimately Americas has a good team, they took it to us, there’s nothing else I can say except that we’re ready for this week.”
The Eastwood vs. Plano Senior matchup almost didn’t happen after Plano’s superintendent initially canceled the game because of safety concerns following the mass shooting an El Paso Walmart.
The Plano school district received major backlash for their decision.
That’s when El Paso city leaders and the Dallas Cowboys organization stepped in to find a solution and keep the game on the schedule.
With Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on board, both Eastwood and Plano agreed to play the game at the Ford Center at the Star in Frisco, TX.
The Ford Center at the Star is the training facility for the Dallas Cowboys, but it also includes a 12,000 seat indoor stadium that plays host to high school football games.
“We have a great opportunity this week to play on a stage that not a lot of El Paso teams get to play on,” Coach Lopez said. “We feel like we’ll be able to go out there and put on a show.”
The Plano Senior football team also had a horrible performance on week one of the high school football season.
The Wildcats lost to Hebron, 53-26, so Thursday night will be a battle between two teams looking for their first win of the season.
Coach Lopez believes Plano’s team is also feeling the pressure of the game and the media attention it has received.
The game will be televised on ABC-7 in El Paso and ABC-7 affiliate, WFAA, will be televising the game in the Dallas market.
“It’s going to be great for both programs, but they’re teenage kids,” Coach Lopez said. “I’d be lying if I said it didn’t have an impact on Friday’s games.”
For the players themselves, they remain focused on just playing the game and not letting the environment and the circumstances get in the way of their focus.
“Just as every other game, we want to win,” Eastwood quarterback Christian Castaneda said. “But there’s a lot of attention to this game, and we got to do everything we can to block that out and do us, and just go out there and win.”