HUTTO, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Friday night's game will be about more than football. Hutto ISD wants to show El Paso they care and that in the face of tragedy, opposing teams can unite.
Ahead of the hippos first home game, Hutto ISD is asking fans to take a seat on the opposing team's side to show support for the El Paso conquistadors. "We still want them to cheer for the Hippos of course but for those kids on that El Paso sideline to be able to turn around and see there's still somebody behind them," said Todd Robison, Hutto ISD Director of Communications. "We are just really trying let these folks from El Paso know…they are not going to be alone."
Del Valle will be traveling about ten hours from the sun city that went dark on August 3rd when a gunman shot and killed 22 people and injured more than a dozen others.
The tragedy shook the nation and hit home for Texans everywhere.
Kyle Ruggirello, Principal of Benjamin Doc Kerley Elementary is an El Paso native she said she’ll be in the stands supporting both teams. "El Paso is such a loving and safe place it is a place where we welcome everybody from all walks of life so it was shocking to hear that someone would target the people of El Paso," Ruggirello said. "Knowing that the district that I love so much and that I have been a part of for a long time is also supporting and reaching out to my hometown which I was a part for a long time is really special."
Robison said the district has more than 20 staff members who are from El Paso.
Aside from filling up the stadium, hippos will be wearing El Paso strong t-shirts and plan on surprising the conquistadors with a special hippo. The school district has sold more than 300 “Hutto Nation is El Paso” strong shirts. All the proceeds will go to organizations that helps first responders in El Paso.