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High school football game in Chester County canceled due to threats

The game between Downingtown West and Coatesville Area High Schools will not be played based on online threats that law enforcement believe are credible, a top district official said.

File photo.
File photo.Read moreTOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

A high school football game in Chester County scheduled for Friday night has been canceled because of “credible” threats, a top school district official announced.

Richard F. Dunlap Jr., interim superintendent of the Coatesville Area School District, had announced earlier on Friday that the game between Downingtown West and Coatesville Area High Schools would be played with no spectators “based on online threats of violence that law enforcement believed were credible.”

Dunlap later said it was decided that the game would not be played due to “additional information received by local law enforcement authorities.”

He did not elaborate on the threats.

Homecoming activities on Saturday will continue as scheduled, Dunlap said.

Coatesville High was dismissed early and the campus will be closed to all activity Friday night, Dunlap said.

“It is so unfortunate that we cannot play a football game of great rivalry and tradition without jeopardizing the safety of innocent people,” Dunlap said in a statement. “District administrators from both school districts have been in communication with each other and feel this is the most prudent decision.”

Dunlap added: “We are pleading with parents to please monitor your children’s social media accounts and speak with them about the serious nature of making threats. Any students found to be responsible for threats will be disciplined in accordance with our policies. We take these matters very seriously.”

Last Friday, at least two separate high school football games in Montgomery County and Southwest Philadelphia were called off due to potential threats.

The game cancellations follow a Sept. 26 ambush shooting that killed a 14-year-old student and wounded four other teens after a scrimmage outside Roxborough High School in Philadelphia.