By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana will celebrate the success of native son Louis Vasquez Friday, two days before the former Corsicana Tiger takes the field in the Super Bowl Sunday in New Jersey as a Denver Broncos guard.
Corsicana school students are encouraged to wear blue and orange on Friday, the Broncos’ colors, while at least one local business is selling special Louis Vasquez T-shirts for the occasion.
In addition, Fannin Elementary will host a special pep rally in his honor at 2:15 p.m. Friday in the school’s gym. Sadly, Louis won’t be able to attend, but his two younger brothers attend Fannin, and his stepmother is involved in the Parent-Teacher Organization at that campus.
“We were really excited about doing something special for him,” said Diane Acock, Fannin principal. “We’ve got to play this up big. It’s something fun for the kids.”
Louis is an inspiration for the kids in the school, Acock said.
“We want to encourage (students) to follow their dreams, and if you dream big sometimes great things happen. We talk to them about hard work, and how it pays off, and that’s what happened with him.”
Acock’s own son went to high school and college with Vasquez at Texas Tech.
“We followed him the whole time he played at Texas Tech,” Acock said. “And we’ve watched him since he went pro, too.”
Vasquez, who’s been in the NFL for five years, was recently named All-Pro, a rare honor. In his five seasons in the NFL, and he has started all 70 games, Vasquez has allowed just 11 sacks. Last year, when he became a free agent the Broncos gave him a four-year contract worth $23.5 million, with a $13 million guarantee, a sign of how much he’s respected by the team’s ownership.
The school has already put up posters and signs around the campus in his honor.
Vasquez said he considers Corsicana home, and he visits when ever he can, although he won’t be on-hand for this celebration. He and the team are already ensconsed in New Jersey preparing for the big game.
Navarro College will be sending a cheerleading squad to Fannin for the pep rally, and Corsicana High will be sending some representatives from the various teams over, as well. Because the gym is small, the pep rally won’t be open to the public, unfortunately.
“We feel like the students need role models,” Acock said. “We’re excited about it. It’s going to be fun.”
The special Louis Vasquez T-shirts began as a Fannin Elementary run, and expanded to include the entire school district, and then the entire community, said Misty Chandler, of Custom T’s.
“They were just going to do it at Fannin, and after they talked about it with the admin they went ahead and said ‘yeah, we can do a free dress day’ school-wide.”
As of Tuesday evening, they company had printed 1,700 of the special T-shirts.
“We couldn’t keep them stocked,” Chandler said. “They were selling as quickly as we could get them out there. It’s crazy, and it’s great to see everybody in the community getting in on it.”
Fox Television will have live coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII beginning at noon Central time. Locally, the game will be broadcast on KDFW Fox 4 TV.