Q: Tonight's news gave a story on a high school in Juarez, Mexico. I know there are many stories to relate to us in DFW, Texas or the USA, but why a story on high school football in a foreign country: a major disappointment in your choice of news.
A: Regret you feel that way. The story came from former WFAA reporter Angela Kocherga who now works at our sister station, KHOU, in Houston, and covers many stories south of the border. We thought it was an interesting story, the fact that kids in Juarez, much like teens in Texas, live for high school football and so-called “Friday night lights.” However, much like many communities in Texas, they too deal with the impact of violence, particularly the loss of teenaged football players who have become collateral damage in the drug war. Here is her script:
Kocherga: As players warm up on a football field in Juarez, two mothers watch from the stands. The women share a love for the team but they're also bound by a terrible night that changed their lives forever.
Kocherga: Marisela Godoy says she'll never forget the faces of so many mothers crying and covered in the blood of their children. It was January 2010. Gunmen attacked a birthday party killing 16 people and injuring more than a dozen more. Many were student athletes. Investigators say the killers confused the double A team with a rival gang known as the Double AAs.
Kocherga: Godoy's son Raul was shot three times. He survived and is studying nursing, inspired by the medical care he got after the shooting. Raul is now the quarterback for the team and practices in the shadow of a memorial to the players who were killed. And he thinks of the other players' mothers as his own, including Guadalupe Davila. Her son Rodrigo was one of two players killed in the attack. To honor their son, she and her husband remain the team's biggest supporters and attend every game. Rodrigo's father sees football as a way to build character, discipline and keep kids out of trouble.
Kocherga: The older players are trying to set an example for youngsters coming up through the ranks, in addition to building teamwork, the kids have to stay in school and do community service.
Kocherga: It's not easy. The Jaguars practice on a field they share with high school soccer teams and play in old equipment. Their coach showed us a helmet they got from a high school in El Paso. Even with hand-me-down equipment, the Juarez team managed to beat the much wealthier Monterrey Tech in the regional championship in May on Mother's Day. As the team works for another winning season--their quarterback says it's all to honor the memory of his fallen friends.