LEECHBURG, Pa. (KDKA) — The Clairton-Leechburg game was one of a few high school football games impacted by recent violence involving youth.
The stands were empty, but it wasn’t quiet for Friday’s matchup. Dozens of Leechburg parents and several Clairton parents showed up even though the game was moved to Leechburg’s Veterans Memorial Field and fans were not allowed in the stadium.READ MORE: Boy, 12, Dies After Collapsing At Chartiers Valley Middle School Basketball Practice
“Honestly, furious but we’re going to make the best of the situation, rise above. We’re still going to watch our kids play,” Adam Oldfield said.
The parents didn’t want to watch the game on a livestream so they stood on the other side of the fence. Some people cheered from their homes.
“It’s a shame. It takes away from the kids on this football field. It’s not fair to the kids because I believe both these teams have good football players and it’s about them. When you take it away from them, that’s a problem,” John Andrasy said.
Leechburg Area School District Superintendent Tiffany Nix said officials increased security, with armed guards inside the stadium and officers outside. The gates were locked as well.
The Leechburg Area School and the Clairton City School districts made the changes with everyone’s safety in mind.
“I was very disappointed, but I also think about all the kids’ safety and didn’t want anyone to get hurt,” Amanda Oldfield said.
Parents from both teams made the most of it as they still were close enough to cheer on the players.READ MORE: Flight Attendant Attacked By Passenger, Flight From New York's JFK To John Wayne Airport Diverts To Denver
“We weren’t allowed in there, so we were here in the same spot last year. We grilled out, this is what we do. We love football and it’s our town,” Andrasy said.
Clairton beat Leechburg 48-27.
During Clairton’s practice on Thursday, coach Wayne Wade said it hurt to not play the team’s first conference game at home, but safety is what’s most important.
“We’ll get over it, it’s only one game. Hopefully, we have a long season, and our fans see a lot of our games this year,” coach Wade said. “It doesn’t matter. We play the games between those lines out there, in between the whistles. Whether fans in the stands or not, we’re looking to play the football game.”
The Clairton City School District’s announcement said, “Out of an abundance of caution we have reached an agreement with Leechburg for them to host the football game on Friday, 9/17. Only the football players will be participating and attending. … The safety of our students, staff and entire community and surrounding communities is our number one priority.”
Nix sent a letter to parents, which said, in part, “Our number one job, every single day, is to keep your children safe. When I am told that safety cannot be guaranteed for our players and coaches in Clairton, it was an easy decision to move the game. … We are simply brought into this by the timing of tragic events and our football schedule.”
Penn Hills’ home game against Woodland Hills was also played Friday without fans because of a shooting last weekend. Central Catholic High School student Stephen Eason was killed, and a Penn Hills High School student was injured.MORE NEWS: PTL Links: Oct. 28, 2021
Sto-Rox and Avonworth’s game Friday was moved from Sto-Rox’s stadium to Avonworth’s stadium because fights broke out after Sto-Rox’s homecoming game last week.