Dallas Cowboys train 300 EPISD football players
Dallas Cowboys camp coaches touched down at El Paso High’s historic Jones Stadium on Wednesday, teaching 300 EPISD football players drills and skills courtesy of the Texas Lottery Commission.
Student-athletes from all 10 EPISD traditional high schools took part in one of three football campus held throughout the day at the picturesque stadium. The coaches — all of them former NFL players — took the students through a tough workout focused on agility, speed and footwork.
“Growing the game of football is important to us at the Cowboys and doing it in the safe and right way and also impacting the community is very important to us,” said Jennifer Surgalski, senior director of corporate partnership services for the Cowboys. “All of our coaches represent professional athletes who have gone on to pursue a passion for football beyond their playing days. They will be instructing kids on life skills and football skills, giving advice and instruction.”
The sessions started with an address by Cowboy linebacker Kyle Wilber, followed by drills and ending with a flag football game. While El Paso is typically outside of areas where they offer similar events, the city is widely known for its solid base of Cowboy fans.
“El Paso was selected through our partnership with the Texas Lottery,” Surgalski said. “It was identified as an area of opportunity to come and impact some young and promising lives and football players as well.”
El Paso coach Robert Morales loved the opportunity the camp provided for his players and the chance to show off his home field.
“It’s a privilege to host it,” he said. “I’ve been getting a lot of comments about how the school is beautiful and they’ve never seen a school like ours.”
Athletic Director Maria Kennedy hopes the camp becomes a tradition for EPISD.
“Some of these kids can’t afford to go to an NFL camp, so we brought this to them,” she said. “It’s only 300 kids today but hopefully it will continue to grow. We want to be able to show we can put on an event like this and service more kids.”
Andress junior Jordun Caradine went hard at the agility and footwork drills, leaving himself a bit winded.
“I’m taking all the knowledge I’m learning today and keeping it in mind to use next season,” the junior said between breaths.
A lifelong fan of America’s Team, the Cowboy name also brought Caradine out for the camp. His first thought: “Is Dak Prescott going to be here?”
While the rookie quarterback didn’t make the trip to El Paso, the Cowboy machine and Prescott’s locker neighbor Wilber were ever present throughout the day – a draw for many of the 300 players.
“I’m trying to improve my skills at the Cowboy camp,” said Coronado High sophomore Carter McFadin, who was born in Dallas. “My favorite team is the Cowboys. They know what they’re doing at a professional level. Getting this experience will help me improve my game and become a better player.”
Jefferson’s Jorge Macias, also a Dallas fan, had been to football camp before but nothing quite like the one the Cowboys offer.
“I’m pretty excited to see the Cowboys in the Sun City,” said Macias, who has aspirations to play college ball. “We’re learning life lessons about being a good player on the field and off and doing good academically.”