Wyoming Valley West safety concerns regarding Friday night football

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KINGSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) —  We start tonight with safety concerns and a high school football game.

The Wyoming Valley West vs. Berwick football game was played at noon Saturday in Kingston.

It was supposed to be played Friday night but the game and Senior Night festivities were moved because of fights after recent night football games. Eyewitness News heard mixed reactions from students and parents to the move.

Senior Night festivities are traditionally held before Friday night football games. This year, they were held in broad daylight Saturday at Spartan Stadium in Kingston prior to the game between Valley West and rival Berwick.

Wyoming Valley West school district officials met with Kingston police earlier this week and decided the best way to head off problems was to move the game to Saturday afternoon.

Video was taken last week outside the stadium dozens of students fighting with each other and police after the Valley West football game.

The game was moved to 4 p.m. Saturday last week from the usual Friday night to try to head off fights. It did not work so Saturday’s game was moved to noon.

“Our goal and our objective is safety and security of kids,” said Dave Tosh, superintendent of the Wyoming Vally West School District.

To achieve that goal, Valley West School District officials determined a midday game is the best way to go, at least for now.

“A lot of the problems we have had have been after the game has been over, post-game. So we changed some of our procedures on how you come in, how you come out. I think moving forward we are going to be in good shape,” explained Tosh. “We are going to be able to get back to Friday night tradition. Very confident. We want to make sure the good kids aren’t affected by it.”

Many students were not happy with the move.

“I don’t really think that the seniors had anything to do with it not even the football team and football team doesn’t deserve to lose their Friday night lights,” said senior Kenizee Bellio.

“It’s not like Friday nights. You’re not under the lights, not dark outside. It’s 12 o’clock in the morning you don’t have as many people in the audience as we would on Friday night. It’s just not a Friday night football game,” explained another senior, Brian Gill.

Parents and family members of students had mixed opinions.

“I think it’s the best move for the kids to stay safe. Hopefully, they can learn something from this good crowd. Respect the field on and off. Hopefully, something like this doesn’t happen again,” stated Lucky Williams, an uncle of a Wyoming Valley West football player.

Valley West officials did not say when games may return to Friday nights.

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