Written by Michael Florek
More than 20,000 fans flock to expansive, new Eagle Stadium
ALLEN — Around 3 p.m. Friday, Donnie Pence and Sam Green, Allen residents for more than a decade, set up their blue tent at the edge of an empty parking lot.
Not long afterward, fans started lining up at Gate B of Allen’s new $59.6 million Eagle Stadium. Before the gates could open at 6 p.m., that parking lot had a steady stream of cars filing in and the line of fans stretched halfway the length of the stadium.
In a one-high school town that continues to expand, Eagle Stadium was filled to capacity and then some by game time. All 18,000 seats were full, and fans stood three deep around the length of the horseshoe, pushing attendance past 20,000.
“I love the fact that there’s enough room for everybody,” said Brandon Davidson, an Allen senior standing in the first row of the student section, behind the goal posts.
The game even drew national media, including The Daily, HBO Real Sports and NBC Nightly News.
As fans walked through the concourse, surrounded by light brick walls and people hawking programs, lines began almost immediately for the in-stadium school store. Chick-fil-A cow mascots posed for pictures with children on the concourse. Those lined up for concessions checked electronic video screens for prices. Clean, blue-tiled bathrooms were distributed throughout the stadium.
When Allen players finally ran through the Eagle head tunnel and through the banner, it felt as if the entire community was there to witness it in a stadium multiple fans agreed looked like it was worth $59.6 million.
“Just walk into the bathrooms,” said Hugh Boyer, a four-year season ticket holder. “That money is well spent.”
With all that in mind and defending state champion Southlake Carroll in town, where does the night rank as a community event?
“It has to be No. 1,” Boyer said. “It’s all anybody can talk of.”