Violence spoils NJ football: District bans all game spectators
LONG BRANCH — The specter of violence hangs over a Jersey Shore football game for the second time in a week with fans not being allowed into the next Long Branch high school matchup.
The Green Wave of Long Branch has moved its Friday night home game with the Scarlet Fliers of Neptune High School to Saturday morning at 10 with no crowd.
"There have been several incidents which have required a heavy police response in Long Branch over the course of the last 24 hours, which do not involve our students or school community," according to a message to parents from Long Branch Superintendent Francisco E. Rodriguez.
"We have been in constant communication with the Public Safety Director and Long Branch Police. At this time, this is an active and ongoing investigation."
Rodriguez said it is a fluid situation and the game could be completely canceled before Friday.
Gun violence in Long Branch
On Monday, three shootings were reported within nine hours in Long Branch and West Long Branch. Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago and Long Branch police believe the shootings were connected.
One person was hospitalized. No arrests have been made.
The Prosecutor's Office had no comment about the superintendent's decision.
Other impacts of the superintendent's decision
The superintendent's decision goes beyond the football game.
Other Long Branch athletic events will be played away and all evening and weekend events have been canceled, postponed or moved.
Violence in other districts
The Oct. 7 game in Asbury Park between the Blue Bishops and Keansburg High School Titans was canceled due to "unspecified threats of violence," according to the Asbury Park school district.
Asbury Park said Keansburg was forfeiting the game but Keansburg said they are requesting the game be rescheduled following a full investigation of the threat.
NJSIAA spokesman Mike Cherenson said the group is disappointed to learn of "disruptions to our member schools' regularly scheduled events."
"If requested, NJSIAA is available to offer support as needed," Cherenson said.