Written by Brandon George
Allen to open new Eagle Stadium in 2012 vs. rival Southlake Carroll
Coaches say national television audience a possibility but game would be moved to a Thursday
Allen’s new, $60 million high school football stadium has caught the attention of national media, and the Eagles’ first game in their new digs will be a must-see.
Allen will open the 2012 season with a zero week matchup against fellow area powerhouse Southlake Carroll, both teams’ coaches told The Dallas Morning News on Thursday.
The game is tentatively scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24. However, Allen athletic officials have been in talks with ESPN about televising the game live, Eagles coach Tom Westerberg said. If that happens, it probably would be moved to Thursday night, Aug. 23.
“We knew we were going to have to get a big game,” Westerberg said. “We wanted to try to sell it out right off the bat, and it’s going to be a great atmosphere.”
Allen and Southlake — both one high school, football-crazy towns — have had two of the top programs in the state over the last decade. Carroll won Class 5A state championships in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006, and Allen won in 2008.
This will be the first time the two teams have met since their thrilling playoff game Nov. 21, 2009.
In front of 40,000 fans at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Carroll defeated Allen, 35-34, in double overtime when Westerberg decided to go for the win with a two-point conversion attempt that was stopped short of the end zone. To get the game to overtime, Allen tied the score with one second left on a 27-yard touchdown pass.
Carroll coach Hal Wasson said he hasn’t seen Allen’s new stadium but has heard plenty about it. In late January, even The New York Times published a story about the new stadium.
The Eagles’ current stadium, built in 1976, holds about 14,000 fans and is often sold out. The new, sunken-bowl stadium will seat at least 4,000 more fans and feature a video scoreboard, two-tier press box, weight room, wrestling practice room and an indoor area for golf practice. Voters in 2009 approved a $119 million bond package that included the stadium, to be finished by mid-2012.
“It’s going to be a tremendous venue, and to put your kids in that environment is great,” Wasson said. “It’s obviously two great, great programs with a lot of skins on the wall. I have a lot of respect for that program. It ought to be awesome. It’ll be great for high school football. We’ll go over there and see what happens.”