BRICK — Brick Township and Brick Memorial high schools are being proactive about their football teams’ matchup this Saturday to avoid a repeat of the melee that erupted during last year’s Week 1 rivalry game.
This year’s game will be played on Brick Memorial High School’s DiFabio Field at 11 a.m. and multiple time changes were made to avoid a situation similar to last year.
“We had some incidents in the past and we don’t have to have it anymore. Enough is enough,” Brick Township Athletic Director Pete Panuska said. “We have to be mature and respect one another … For security reasons … and for other reasons … we wanted to have it earlier and we worked with the township and we will speak with our students.”
Last season a brawl broke out in the Brick Township student section when a Brick Memorial student attempted to retrieve a stolen flag. Multiple administrators attempted to stop the fighting, which resulted in multiple suspensions of students at both schools.
This season, since the game will take place on the campus of Brick Memorial, Mustangs athletic director Ed Sarluca said he feels there is no need for heightened security.
“We have never had an issue before at Brick Memorial, so we don’t expect to have one this year,” he said. “We’re taking normal preventive measures and we’ll secure our game like we normally have in the past. “We don’t feel like this is a major issue. We feel like last year, that was an incident that got out of control … and that it was really a misrepresentation of everything that this game is about.”
As a result of the incident former acting superintendent Dennis Filippone installed new policies for every home football game but Sarluca said they have always been in place at Brick Memorial.
“We’ve actually had this same rule for as long as I can remember, here at Memorial,” he said. “It’s basically no backpacks, no drinks, no noise makers, no signs or banners or confetti poppers or anything like that.”
According to Brick Chief of Police James Riccio there will be no additional officers assigned to this game but he will have “plainclothes officers” patrolling the outskirts of the field and parking lots.
“We typically put out the number of officers we feel are adequate, so we’re not increasing,” Riccio said. “Sometimes we found kids and adults, alike, will consume alcohol before the game so [our plain-clothes officers] will be looking for things like that.”
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