Pleasantville and Camden will finish their high school football playoff game at the home of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association announced Monday the Central Jersey Group II semifinal will resume 4 p.m. Wednesday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Pleasantville High School football player Ernest Howard will wear a different jersey number …
Each school will be provided 250 free passes for family members and friends. The game will be closed to the general public.
High school sports arenas are supposed to be bulletproof.
“We announced it to the team at practice today,” Pleasantville coach Chris Sacco said Monday. “They were all smiling and clapping and cheering. It was just good to see smiles on their faces after everything that happened Friday night.”
Camden was leading 6-0 on Friday night at Pleasantville High School when the game was halted in the third quarter after a shooting in the bleachers that left three people wounded. Six people were arrested in connection with the incident.
A 10-year-old boy from Atlantic City is in critical condition at Cooper University Hospital with a gunshot wound to the neck. Greyhounds running back/linebacker Ernest Howard is wearing No. 10 in his honor.
“It’s a really bad situation right now,” Pleasantville Chief of Police Sean Riggin told NBC10Philadelphia.com Monday. “To be such a tough little kid, to be able to hang in there through a very critical, serious injury, he’s an impressive young guy. I really want to see him pull through this, but he’s in bad shape.”
The team that wins will face Cedar Creek on Saturday, Nov. 30, for the Central Jersey Group II title at the home field of the higher seed. Cedar Creek is the No. 2 seed and Pleasantville is No. 1. Camden is No. 4.
The Greyhounds are hoping that if they win, they will host the game at their stadium.
“If we happen to win on Wednesday, we definitely want to play at home, with the proper security in place,” Sacco said. “We earned the No. 1 seed and the kids, parents and everyone want to see a championship game played at Pleasantville.”
Wednesday’s game is the first regular season or playoff high school football contest to be held at the Lincoln Financial Field since it opened in August 2003, according to the Eagles.
The Linc is home to both the Eagles and the Temple University Owls.
“It’s extremely unfortunate that a senselessly violent act has impacted this game,” NJSIAA Executive Director Larry White said in a statement, “and there will certainly be a wide range of emotions along both sidelines. However, thanks to the Eagles’ generosity and community spirit, Pleasantville and Camden student-athletes and their families will have an opportunity to write their own ending to this game. They’ll compete on a world-class stage, sending a clear message that violence will not win.”