Football game continues as planned despite recent violence - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Football game continues as planned despite recent violence

(FOX19 NOW/File) (FOX19 NOW/File)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Despite a recent string of shootings in the West End, the Taft High School football game was still played on their home field Friday night.

FOX19 NOW spoke with parents, students, coaches and security and they all pretty much expressed the same sentiment of not wanting the recent violence to overshadow something as wholesome and community-oriented as a high school football game.

There was certainly a whole lot of excitement in the air during Fridays game but that excitement was also mixed with some caution.

According to the Taft High School Manager of Marketing and Community Relations, the football game against Hughes had increased police presence in order to keep any concern of violence or any violence at bay.

School officials said before they made this decision, they had long talks with police about the pros and cons of holding the game at Taft High School but eventually, they chose not to let the criminals win by going through with the regularly-scheduled game.

The bright lights that shone upon Friday’s football game was a stark contrast to the dark incidents that shadowed the streets Wednesday, when 3 men were shot, 2 of them killed but on Friday, light overcame the dark.

"It’s a beautiful thing to see these kids out here today," said Ronnell Wright, a coach of the Taft High School football team.  

"They made a good choice to have it down here despite all of the violence and everything,” said Celeste Myles, whose brother plays on the football team. “It shows that not everyone is a part of the violence and that they have young African-American men showing that they want something out of life so it shows the positive side of being down here."

For many folks in attendance, this game meant much more than just numbers on the scoreboard.

"My father was shot and killed last year so for me to come to the game, it's a big deal to me because it shows that these boys are actually here to play and I know it would mean a lot to my dad if he was here still," said Kayla Shelton, a senior at Taft High School who also has a brother on the team.

With Thursday’s game relocated because of violence, many worried that Friday night, Senior Night, would be played elsewhere. Thankfully, the seniors got to dig their cleats into their home turf one last time.

"It would've been a sad situation, especially for the seniors, because we do want to stop the violence but we don't want to stop the positivity that's going on in these young men's lives and their dreams to play their last game on this field and walk on this field, that feeling right there is priceless," said Coach Wright. 

A community, torn apart by violence, only to be brought back together and strengthened by a game and by cheering together as one for their boys on the field.

The Cincinnati Police officers who patrolled this event told FOX they didn't deal with any security threats or violence within the stadium during the game.

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