Football game between Plano, El Paso high schools shows unity between the two communities

Thursday night, the football teams for two schools linked by tragedy, will meet on the field at The Star in Frisco.

Eastwood High School in El Paso is in North Texas to play against Plano Senior High School.

It's a game that almost didn't happen after last month's mass shooting.

But now that it's on, there's been a show of support, and unity.

The Eastwood coach said that both teams needed to play this game to show unity.

It will be emotional on Thursday, but both schools said it will help with the healing process.

“We want them to have fun. We want them to enjoy this,” Eastwood HS coach Julio Lopez said.

What do you do when tragedy strikes? You find the thing that brings people together.

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In Texas, football is that thing.

“I think something as pure as Texas high school football is an important step in the healing process. In the healing process for a proud community in El Paso, that for the last month, has been grieving,” Lopez added.

The Eastwood High School football team from El Paso has been living with tragedy.

Last month, 22 people were killed, dozens more hurt, while people were back-to-school shopping at an El Paso Walmart.

Authorities say the gunman, who graduated from Plano Senior High, confessed to the deadly shooting, and said he wanted to kill Mexicans.

“Our heart aches right now. As a program, we are grieving. Our heart aches for his family,” Lopez said.

As Eastwood prepares for Thursday’s game in Frisco, Plano Senior High School’s marching band is doing the same about 15 minutes away.

At Thursday’s game, the band will play Eastwood’s fight song, among other tributes.

“We hope to unify and forget the past and like, let music be the means to do that,” Plano Sr. High band member David Park said.

“These are one of those times they will truly remember for the rest of their lives,” said Jason Lewis, director of bands for Plano Senior High.

These two schools share a unique tie, and it almost took away this chance for the community to show its support.

Last month, citing safety concerns, Plano ISD announced it was canceling the game, which was slated to be played Kimbrough Stadium in Murphy.

But the very next day, the district announced the game was back on.

This time, the game was moved to The Star in Frisco.

The Plano Quarterback Club is selling t-shirts to raise money for El Paso victims and families.

The shirts feature both school logos, and they say “Texas Strong.”

“In an odd coincidence linked in very different ways to the tragedy, we just felt like football could be a way for these two communities to embrace each other. To embrace diversity,” Lopez added.