With school destroyed, Rockport High gets help from rivals to find normalcy on Fridays

Instead of focusing on the spirit of rivalry in football, some high schoolers are showing support for a devastated community.

CENTRAL TEXAS - At first glance – you'll see a fired up team running onto the field, followed by cheerleaders – all serenaded by the band.

It's a scene you'll find across the state of Texas – from big cities to small towns.  But this is no ordinary game, because this is no ordinary team.  

This is Rockport – players and cheerleaders donning a jersey for a school that isn't even open.

"If we don't pick ourselves up now, then when will we?," said junior Kellie Robinson, a Rockport cheerleader.

Last month, Rockport was devastated by Hurricane Harvey, forcing the closure of its high school as repairs are made.

Students are now at other schools – but that's done little to their loyalty

"Being in the uniform, cheering for our team, it's like home to us," said Lauren Corry, a sophomore Rockport cheerleader.

It's an inescapable feeling – no matter where they may be.

"I drove seven hours to be here," explained Maddie McCrary, a sophomore Rockport cheerleader.

She's staying with a family friend in Nagodoches for the time being.  While most of her fellow cheerleaders are staying closer to the Rockport-area and are able to meet for practice, McCrary takes part through FaceTime.

The sacrifice is evident even to their opponents.

Before the game, Glenn High cheerleaders served Rockport cheerleaders a warm meal. It was part of a school-wide show of support.

"Hurricane Harvey was awful and I'm so sorry it happened. But I'm not sorry to see the amazingness that came from Texas, how many people sent supplies, and how many people were just willing to help," said McCrary.

The walls of the gym were adorned with messages of support painted by Glenn High cheerleaders.

"Even if we're rivals for a game, we're all Texas. We're all a family," Corry said.

It's a sentiment that made it to the stands. where the Seguin Matador band learned the Rockport alma mater and fight song in two days.

"It's a real testimony to true kindness and passion that is out there, that we're coming together and trying to put together something that is really, really special here," explained Collin Barry, the Seguin High School Associate Band Director.

The Seguin Athletic Booster Club presented the Rockport-Fulton Booster Club with a $4,500 check, to help go towards new supplies that were ruined from the storm.

The Matador band traveled to Austin for a Thursday night football game, allowing them to be available Friday.

The game was always scheduled to be played in Seguin - it's between Glenn High and Rockport - but it wasn't until earlier this week that the Matador band learned they'd be performing.

As they walked to the stands prior to the game, they were greeted by a few members of Rockport's band, who made the trek to perform with the Matadors.

Once the coin was tossed, and the ball was kicked off, it looked like any other Friday night in Texas.

It was a sense of normalcy and pride that no scoreboard can display.

"I would rather have something normal to do, and something that makes me want to work for a victory. I know all the football boys, they're helping out, rebuilding houses, and when they're not - they're working towards that victory on Friday night.  It gives us something to push us - more than just getting our town back, but keeping our team together and showing everyone that we truly are Rockport strong," said Robinson.

A sense of pride nobody will ever forget.

"Once a Pirate, always a Pirate," McCrary said.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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