Elikena “Eric” Fieilo refused to let his intentional hit on an official define him.
In a December 2008 playoff game against Allen, the Euless Trinity linebacker ran over an official on the second-to-last play of the game.
As a result, the two-year starter was disciplined and saw several Division I scholarship offers pulled off the table.
“It was a terrible, horrible decision I made,” Fieilo said. “I was letting pride take over. It was anger, selfishness. God has broken me down and actually built me back up.”
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Now, with two San Antonio Jay football players being investigated for targeting an official in Friday night’s game against Marble Falls, Fieilo, 24, said the players need to accept whatever punishment comes their way and rebuild their lives.
“What they did, it’s already done,” Fieilo said. “They need to believe God will provide a second way and I hope they can take what he has to offer.”
Fieilo received a football scholarship from Sam Houston State, where he majored in criminal justice. He returned to Euless and has been an officer with the Euless Police Department for about a year.
“I was known as that kid who hit a ref,” Fieilo said of his days at Sam Houston, where he played linebacker. “I was really disappointed in myself for what I did, but going to Sam Houston State was a blessing for me. I was given a second chance and my church group helped me out.”
While Fieilo’s hit has been discussed as reference point in Friday night’s much-publicized incident, Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson, a long-time referee, said there’s no comparison. The San Antonio Jay incident is far worse, he said.
“This has reached a level none of us thought we would ever see before,” Anderson said.