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[The Backstory]

Scoring touchdowns and defying stereotypes

Photo: Sam Morris

Canyon Springs High School Football Team | November 9, 2012 | 8:52 PM

“We provide welfare for them.” That’s what I overheard on the home side of a high school football game in a well-to-do neighborhood regarding visiting team Canyon Springs. Normally a comment like that would give rise to a feeling of indignation, as well as my blood pressure. This time it also stung.

While I hadn’t spent nearly as much time with the Canyon Springs team as Las Vegas Sun writer J. Patrick Coolican, I had shot a handful of games and their homecoming, slowly getting to know some of the players. That comment is a good illustration of what these kids are up against in life, facing negative stereotypes before they’re even given a chance to prove themselves.

While some misguided student saw only the name of a North Las Vegas school they knew nothing about, I saw Canyon Springs’ Fabian Leos, who gets up early to help his younger siblings get to school, attends the legal studies magnet program at Canyon Springs, plays football and wrestles, works part time and has recently added an internship at a local community center to his schedule. And I saw in coach Hunkie Cooper a man who is doing his best to make sure these young men succeed by insisting on hard work, ethics, self-respect and responsibility. Do yourself a favor and read the full story on the Canyon Springs football team at

Tags: Sports, Opinion

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