KINGSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A local school district has joined forces with law enforcement to crack down on fights and violence at its high school football games.
It’s one last home crowd hurrah for the Wyoming Valley West varsity football season. This game against the Hazleton Area, unlike some recent other games, is played under the Friday night lights.
Some earlier contests were switched to day games because of fights and student brawls to have a home season finale at night.
“We spoke with the District Attorney’s Office and District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce granted us a letter and order to bring all West Side Police Departments together with arrest powers and put them in Wyoming Valley West Stadium,” explained Chief Richard Kotchik, of the Kingston Police Department.
High school students had to pre-purchase their tickets, and students in eighth grade and below had to be accompanied by a parent to buy a ticket at the gate.
“The days of just dropping your children off here to do as they please, they’re over,” said Kotchik.
No backpacks were allowed and everyone had to be screened with a metal detector all to deter violence.
“I work every game so I’ve been here for all of them actually and like the Chief said it did get pretty violent a few times and now we think that this is the way that we should go, and we’re happy that it’s at nighttime,” stated Detective Stephen Gibson, of Kingston Police Department.
Seniors we spoke with say they’re just thankful to play their last home game on a Friday night and not on a Saturday afternoon.
“There’s no fans, no one wants to go, no one wants to be theres no energy. Everything’s really quiet. Come out on a friday night you know there’s two, three thousand people there, and it’s just a whole different ball game,” said Zack Tomascik, senior at Wyoming Valley West.
“Especially a night like tonight; alumni, families, last senior game we’ll ever have here, it feels amazing to have it on a friday night,” said Josh Koval, senior at Wyoming Valley West.
The beefed-up security is not lost on parents.
“I think it’s a necessary step and I’m really appreciative of all of their efforts during one of the games. I’m also a coach of one of the mini cheer squads. One of my mini cheerleaders almost got like trampled and lost her cellphone so the less chaos here, the better,” said Jessica Hodle, parent of a Wyoming Valley West student.
Teamwork among law enforcement to keep the battles on the playing field.
Wyoming Valley West School District officials declined to comment on or off-camera about the security measure taken and the decision to play at night.