CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga — Just days away from their first games, some Clayton County high school football games are being rescheduled due to safety concerns.
On Tuesday afternoon, district officials said the decision to move the games from Friday to Saturday is about keeping fans and players safe.
“The decision to reschedule two Clayton County high school football games for the coming weekend was based on a number of factors. The chief among them is that the teams involved are longtime rivals. These annual games traditionally draw each team’s largest fan base for their respective seasons,” the district said in a statement to Channel 2 Action News.
“This large attendance usually requires a larger demonstration of support to provide a safe and enjoyable experience. The shifting of the games will allow the Clayton County Schools Police and school staff to provide this level of support. Clayton County Public Schools is committed to maintaining a safe environment for our students and their families, our employees and our communities.”
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Channel 2′s Michael Seiden spoke to those who frequent the games and got their take.
Former Clayton County high school football player and 2014 graduate Jebez Talley says he enjoys the heated nature of these rivalries.
“It gets crazy on Friday night,” Talley said. “On the southside, it gets to that point where it might cause a fight or two in the stands.”
Parent Miranda Jones described the gameday atmosphere as “High energy. Very hype energy and very energetic.”
There are some teams that don’t get along.
“North Clayton don’t like Riverdale. Riverdale don’t like North Clayton. Mundy’s Mill don’t like Lovejoy. Lovejoy don’t like Mundy’s Mill,” Talley said.
“During the daytime, it’s a more safe environment, I would say. So that would be a safety concern that would be pretty cool,” Jones said.
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Channel 2 Action News reached out to school district officials in a request for interviews, but they declined, saying that having the games at night would stretch their security resources.
In response to concerns related to the safety of all participants at several key rivalry football games, the Clayton County Public Schools Athletic Department has made some adjustments connected with the schedules of two games. The changes are as follows:
The Friday, Aug. 19, game featuring Lovejoy High School and Mundy’s Mill High School has been rescheduled to Saturday, Aug. 20, at 1:00 pm. The game will be played at Twelve Oaks Stadium on McDonough Road, next to Lovejoy High School.
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