MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Montgomery County Public Schools says next week’s Seneca Valley football game against Damascus will also start early for security reasons.
This is the second high school football game change announced this week as MCPS and police work to address safety concerns following a number of school incidents, including several brawls erupting during last week’s Seneca Valley - Northwest football game.
Friday’s Northwest game against Quince Orchard had its start time bumped up to 4:30 p.m., "…out of an abundance of caution for everyone's safety," a joint letter from both schools’ principals read on Wednesday.
The hope is more daylight will help. There was also an increased security presence that included anywhere from 10 to 15 officers or more at Northwest High School on Friday.
Other security measures announced included a "no bag pack" policy. Elementary and middle schoolers were not granted entrance without a guardian.
It’s not clear if anyway was turned away but the gates did close once a max capacity of around 6,000 people was reached. A few watched from the fence outside the stadium.
Some parents and guardians going early to catch the big match-up told FOX 5 they didn’t think some of the changes were fair to the innocent students, but they did appreciate that something was being done to address the community’s safety concerns.
MCPS Athletic Director Dr. Jeffrey Sullivan told FOX 5 he understands the frustrations and that the decision to change game time is not made lightly.
His message to the community is that MCPS is working with all of its partners to ensure everyone can enjoy Friday Night Lights. To the ones involved in the recent fighting, Sullivan said the violence will not be tolerated.
Not all school game times are being changed. School leaders tell FOX 5 they are reviewing every game week-by-week to see what that Friday match-up may also entail.
The Seneca-Damascus football game is now expected to start at 3:30 p.m.