FORT WORTH, Texas — One of Tarrant County's communities hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic has a reason to celebrate.
The Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School boys soccer team is hoping to earn the school's first-ever state championship and received a spectacular sendoff Friday.
“I’m just speechless for all the support we have, all the love we had,” said Kyle Reopelle, coach.
The journey has been a challenging one.
“Everyone’s been through a lot this year,” Reopelle said. “It’s been an extremely difficult year for the players.”
From at-home learning to safety protocols, principal James Garcia said the students had to adopt to the COVID-19 pandemic in the classroom and on the field.
“Last year they didn’t get to finish out the season even, so this is amazing,” said Garcia.
The pandemic had an even bigger impact on the surrounding community. The 76106 zip code has among the highest-COVID-19 death rates in Tarrant County.
“This neighborhood suffered a lot of loss and having that positive energy right now in this neighborhood, it just means the world to us,” said Monica Ordaz, principal of nearby Cesar Chavez Elementary.
Ordaz and several other elementary school principals came to the sendoff. Most remember some players when they were small children.
“These kids grew up here in this neighborhood and seeing them grow into the young men that they are today, it just makes us so proud,” said Ordaz.
There was plenty of pride to go around as the bus drove off, and plenty of hope as well.
“We’ve all been through a lot, so it would mean everything to these guys and to this community to come back with a championship,” said Reopelle.