ASBURY PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Safety concerns have forced school administrators to cancel an annual high school football game.
Threats targeted both teams and now Thanksgiving Day rivalry is off.
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, the score board will be dark and the locks on the fence fastened at the Asbury Park High School football field. The Thanksgiving rivalry game against Neptune was cancelled after police say credible threats were made between the teams.
“I was shocked and disappointed. It’s like the Super Bowl of this town,” Born Bluford said.
“This is like the hood championships,” Miangel Simmons added.
Asbury Park police said there has been talk of violence in the past, but the game has never been cancelled. This year the schools called it off.
“Information received through the school, an unconfirmed threat that violence was going to take place at the game,” Asbury Park Police, Sgt. Michael Casey said.
The game had been a 90 year tradition.
Neptune’s superintendent said her number one priority is safety.
“As much as we don’t want to allow the actions of a few people who are determined to ruin the spirits of this beloved game, we really need to consider the risk,” Dr. Tami Crader said.
The Asbury Park superintendent said it was a difficult decision for the entire community.
Normally, the stands are filled with parents and grandparents who either played in the rivalry game or attended it when they were in high school.
“Everybody mad saying it’s not going to be Thanksgiving without the game and stuff,” Nyiarah Butler said.
The Neptune school district will not reschedule the game without a formal security plan, and there isn’t enough time left in the season to make that happen.
Police said they can’t reveal if the threats are gang-related.