West High School wins first homecoming game since explosion

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by JOBIN PANICKER

Bio | Email | Follow: @jobinpnews

WFAA

Posted on September 20, 2013 at 10:28 PM

Updated Saturday, Sep 21 at 9:36 AM

WEST, Texas -- It was hardly the perfect weather for a game of football, but the rain didn’t stop hundreds of people from coming to see the West Trojans take on the Clifton Cubs.

West High School came into their homecoming game winless, but a town that could use a victory got one Friday, 31-13.

Eddie Chueja came an hour-and-a-half before the kick-off and sat in a reserved seat he’s had for years.

“I wanted to be sure and get a good seat,” he laughed.

Chueja is one of three generations in his family that played on Trojan Field. The class of '66 grad says he rarely misses games, and opened up to us about what football means to his town of West.

He said the plant explosion definitely changed the town, and “people aren’t the same.”

So while he’s a huge fan of football and the Trojans, his true loyalty is to West.

“It’s the first step to starting an inner recovery... feelings of hope,” Chueja said.

First-year coach David Woodard has been preaching to his players how important this season is to them and the community, and what it takes to right the ship.

“It gives everybody hope thinking if these kids can go through it, then we can, too,” Woodard said.

Chueja said a win would be great, but it’s the heart that counts. And surely a little bit of rain Friday night won’t dampen spirits either.

“A little rain doesn’t hurt the spirit of West,” Jacqueline Uptmore said.

Chueja and the hundreds of other fans had smiles on their faces for the win. But they know one win can't make up for the loss they've felt since the explosion.

“We’re looking at another two-to-three years before there’s some semblance of how it used to be here,” Chueja said.

E-mail jpanicker@wfaa.com

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