York High settles into Saturday afternoon games

Christopher Dornblaser

The William Penn Senior High School football team settled into a new routine Saturday afternoon, playing its first game under tightened security measures approved by the York City school board last week.

Small Athletic Field was filled with fans supporting the Bearcats on their home turf as they took on the Red Lion Lions.

York High alumnus and York City resident Tino Conquest gets patted down as he enters the football game at Small Athletic Field on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. Metal detectors have been used at the stadium entrances for several years, but security personnel has been boosted in the wake of a shooting outside the stadium earlier this season. Bill Kalina photo

The game was the first scheduled home game since two men were shot outside the stadium just two weeks earlier during a Friday night game. The school board decided it would be best if games were moved from Friday nights to Saturday afternoons for the sake of security.

While the afternoon game was packed, a few in attendance claimed that even though the district made the right call, games just aren't the same when they're not played under the "Friday night lights."

Security: York City School District Police Chief Michael Muldrow was in the stadium's parking lot, in front of the main entrance.

He said the security measures for the game were pretty much as usual, including using the metal detectors and checking bags, but this time there was a bit more security personnel.

Officers from York City Police and the York County Sheriff's Office were helping monitor the parking lot, Muldrow said.

York City School District Police Chief Michael Muldrow, left, directs an officer before the start of a football game at Small Athletic Field on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. 
(Bill Kalina photo)

When he attended York High, the football games were played on Saturdays, so the move was nothing new for him, he said. As of Saturday, the district was still planning to hold home games on Saturday afternoons, he said.

However, he noted it was a change for the students.

"Kids want to play under the lights," Muldrow said.

York City to increase security at Small Field

Saturday games: Jahair Wilson, a 2015 York High graduate, shared that sentiment. Wilson was at the game Saturday afternoon and said he was not a fan of the new Saturday-afternoon games.

"It was Friday night lights," he said.

Wilson said while he didn't like the decision, he didn't think the district had any alternative.

"It was the best thing for the community," he said.

Marching band members Pedro Giron, a senior drum major, and Augustine Mauriche, a junior member of the clarinet section, agreed.

"I understand that they want to keep us safe," Giron said.

"I get why they did it,"  Mauriche said.

However, Giron said many members of the band have their work schedules already planned in advance based on Friday games. The change complicated things, he said, adding that some people wouldn't be able to make the newly scheduled Saturday games.

Mauriche said some of the band members also have performances outside of the marching band on Saturdays.

Police ID victims shot at William Penn football game

"I wasn't for it, honestly," he said of the decision.

Jocelyn Phillips, whose son, Nathan Phillips, a junior, is on the York High football team, was very unhappy with the decision to move the games to Saturday.

"It's ridiculous," Phillips said.

Similar to the marching band members' concerns, she said it's not always easy for her to get out of work on Saturdays.

"When they play here, I want to be here," she said.

Phillips said school officials should have kept the games on Friday nights and still increased security.

Suspect sought in York High football game shooting

The shooting: Two men, Darius Allen, 23, of York City, and Antwan Jackson, 20, of the York area, were shot in the parking lot outside Small Athletic Field after being removed from the game by security on Sept. 9, according to York City Police.

Allen was struck once in the abdomen, and Jackson was struck once in the back. The incident resulted in a 20-minute lockdown, with the family, friends and fans in attendance asked to remain inside the stadium until the all-clear was given.

Police say Stephon Brown, 15, of Reading, was the shooter. They are still looking for the teen.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.