EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The high school football season — for the majority of programs across El Paso — began on Monday. Per University Interscholastic League (UIL) rules, high school football teams — who participated in spring ball — could begin practicing on Monday, Aug. 9.
The Eastwood Troopers football team took that date quite literally, taking the field at 12:01 a.m. for Midnight Madness. It has become a tradition for the program under head coach Julio Lopez who enters his seventh year at Eastwood.
“It’s really a mindset for us,” said Lopez. “It’s literally the mindset that we are so excited to start the season that the minute the UIL allows us to start practice — which for us is at 12:01 a.m. — we are going to jump on the field.”
Eastwood is coming off a district championship in their first year playing in Class 6A. The Troopers return 11 starters from last year’s team, including senior quarterback Andrew Martinez.
“We fully expect to come into the season ranked No. 1 in the city as the best team in the city,” said Martinez. “But we can’t be comfortable from all the attention we’ve been getting. We need to keep our head down, keep working and earn everything we get.”
The Troopers just might be the top team in the city to begin the city, but the goal is to get past the first round of the playoffs and make a run that is two, three or maybe even four rounds deep. Eastwood finished last season 7-1, their only loss coming to Abilene High by a touchdown in the Bi-District round.
“We just felt like when we got into the playoffs it should’ve been a two or three round run,” said Lopez. “To have it cut short like that, it just fuels you for this year. It makes the kids hungry and as a program we’re hungry. We are hungry for a deep run in the playoffs and a loss like that is something we talk about daily to motivate us.”
Eastwood will open the season on Friday, Aug. 27 against Parkland. The season premiere of 9 Overtime will be Aug. 27 at 10:15 p.m.