CLAIRTON, Pa. (KDKA) - In light of recent violence, Clairton football will be on the road Friday.
Friday night lights were supposed to be on for Clairton's first conference game at home, but the lights will be shining down on the Bears at Leechburg with no fans in the stands.
"This is a football town, it's always been a football town. To lose a home game to something like this, it hurts," said Clairton coach Wayne Wade. "I think with all the factors that were looked at in light of the current incidents, it turned out for us to lose the home game, which was disappointing. But when you're talking about kids' safety, you try to do the best things."
Coach Wade talked to his players about the location change and how no fans will be in the stands before Thursday's practice.
"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," he said.
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."
Leechburg Area School District Superintendent Tiffany Nix said to KDKA, "In response to recent events, the decision was jointly made by the two Districts to move the location of Friday's game and to restrict attendance."
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."
"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.
This decision was made in response to recent violence involving youth in some communities. A 15-year-old was shot and killed at a haunted hayride in North Versailles on Saturday.
Coach Wade hopes a lesson is learned on and off the field.
"Whatever you have going on outside of football and in the communities, that it stays away from these kids because they're trying to do something positive," he said.
The Clairton and Leechburg game starts at 7 p.m. Friday and will be live-streamed on YouTube.
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