The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Allen Eagles open new stadium with a win

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After the much-anticipated wait for the opening of Allen High School’s $60 million stadium, it was no surprise that the preseason opener Friday night against rival Southlake Carroll would be far from dull.

With a crowd of almost 22,000 people, 8,000 season ticket holders, concession lines up to 50 people in length, press coverage from at least three major news stations, a 38 foot high-definition screen, and the largest high school band in the country that boasts over 700 members, Allen shows that everything really is bigger in Texas.

“The most exciting thing is we get to walk out our door, we don’t have to bus to it,” Allen football head coach, Tom Westerberg said of the stadium.

The new Allen Eagle Stadium is the third-largest high school stadium in Texas, but the largest that any team plays in exclusively. Allen’s new facility holds 4,000 more people than their previous arena, which the team had used since 1976 back when the town’s population was fewer than 8,000.

“I was here maybe six months ago so I got to see the excavation and kind of get a scale of the place and it’s quite impressive,” said Eagles fan, Ed Fisher, of the new stadium.

Now with a town population of 87,000 people, Friday night’s game was not only filled to capacity, but Westerberg believes there were over 24,000 tickets sold. On top of all this, the game sold out by Wednesday night, three days after sales began.

“I have an affinity for the Allen Eagles. We’ve been coming here for years and this is the hottest ticket in town,” said Fisher.

After the teams’ last face-off in a 2009 playoff game at Dallas Cowboys Stadium, which ended in double overtime and presented Southlake Carroll with a 35-34 victory, both teams came out Friday night with determination to win.

“Any time we play good teams like Allen we expect a dog fight,” Southlake Carroll head coach, Hal Wasson said.

After a multitude of passes led the Eagles down the field early in the first quarter, the team quickly scored a touchdown.

“When you play in a game like this, it’s two tradition-rich teams and both teams are in it to win,” Wasson said.

The Southlake Dragons are the defending 2011 Texas State Champions and have not lost a game since December 2010, so a play like this left many Southlake Carroll fans fidgeting in their seats. The fans continued to look even more discomforted when the dragons fumbled on the two-yard line with 43 seconds left in the half, allowing the eagles to score once more.

John Morrow, Southlake Carroll fan since 1998, explains not being on the scoreboard at half time is not a concern for the team though.

“We’ve been behind before, but we keep winning,” Morrow said.

According to Wasson, the preseason game for the Dragons in the new stadium should not be taken lightly, but it is not comparable to the multiple championship games they have previously played in.

“We really have to focus on things that are important. Our players have done a good job throughout the history of Dragon Football to adapt quickly and we’re definitely going to have to do that,” Wasson said.

For the opening of the stadium, the Southlake Carroll band members joined with the Allen Escadrille band to play a special halftime performance including over 100 trombones to represent their mutual respect for each other’s schools.

Once the game reconvened, the Allen Eagles stormed to the end zone with ease once again to score another touchdown in the third quarter.

“Now I’m getting scared,” Morrow said.

With just under six minutes left on the clock in the fourth quarter, Southlake still had yet to score and was forced to punt the ball back to the Eagles, leading to a rush of Southlake fans to exit the stadium.

“I’ve been a fan since 1998 and I have never seen this. I’ve seen us lose, but I’ve never seen us shut out,” Morrow said as he got up from his seat to leave the stadium.

The Dragons attempted to move past the 30-yard line late in the fourth quarter but fumbled, letting Allen recover the ball once again.

As the time ran down to zero seconds the Allen side of the stadium blared into a victorious uproar for the completion of their first win in their new stadium with a final score of 24-0, shutting out Southlake Carroll.

Although this is a preseason game, Southlake Carroll has not been shut out in a regular season or playoff game since 1997.

The next game to take place in Allen Eagle stadium will be September 14 against Richardson. Allen’s next game will be at Cedar Hill on September 7, while Southlake Carroll will play Midland at home.

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