by Sergio Chapa
Monterrey Prepa Tec is cancelling its high school football games in Texas amid an alleged extortion threat from a drug cartel.
The Borregos cancelled their game today with Round Rock Stony Point.
Monterrey Tec spokesman Ricardo Garcia told Action 4 News that an anonymous phone call by someone claiming to be with the Zetas drug cartel last week.
The caller allegedly demanded $30,000 for the team to safely cross an international bridge into the United States.
Garcia said they did not know if the call was authentic or a prank but point out that the Zetas are very active in Monterrey and the surrounding area.
He said the team decided to cancel Stony Point game for safety reasons.
Monterrey Tec’s college team also cancelled its scheduled game against Mary Hardin-Baylor for the same reason last Saturday.
"We can't risk the lives or the safety of our students and staff," Garcia said.
School officials told Action 4 News in a previous interivew that the drug war in Mexico has forced the schools and others to change travel plans for events.
The team used to take overnight bus trips to save money on hotels but that's no longer the case due to insecurity on highways on the Mexican side of the border.
The Borregos are instead leaving by bus a day earlier to avoid traveling on the roads at night adding more expenses for hotel rooms.
About 45 students and staff from Monterrey Prepa Tec flew to Dallas last weekend to play Highland Park in a game where they lost.
For games in Mexico, the team is traveling by train during the day and flying back at night.
The Monterrey Prepa Tec team still is playing a record of seven games in Texas this high school football season.
The team has three high school football games remaining this year in the Austin, Copus Christi and San Antonio areas.
Garcia said the security situation is prompting them to cancel the first two games but the third game in December still is uncertain.
It''s not clear how security concerns will affect scheduling and contracts for games next year.
Among the options are player fewer games, playing closer to the border or raising more funds to fly to games in Texas.
Garcia said he hopes the security situation improves before the next football season so they don't have to make many changes.