Extra security is planned when Sanford takes the field Saturday against archrival Massabesic.

A football game between perennial rivals Massabesic High School of Waterboro and Sanford High School was postponed to Saturday after a Massabesic student reported hearing a comment in the school parking lot about someone planning to bring a weapon to the game, authorities said Friday.

The game had been scheduled for Friday night in Sanford.

Chief Deputy William King of the York County Sheriff’s Office said deputies are investigating, but “rumors of possible violence have not been substantiated.” He said there will be extra security at the game, now scheduled for 1 p.m. in Sanford.

School officials said this is the first time a game between the two schools has been postponed because of a threat of violence. Last month, a high school football game in Palm Beach County, Fla., was postponed after school officials heard of a threat that a player would be attacked during the game.

Sanford Superintendent David Theoharides did not know what kind of weapon was reported mentioned, but said it might have been a gun. He said officials from Massabesic are also investigating.

Before the rumor was reported, students from the two schools had been trash-talking on Facebook, which Theoharides said might have fueled the threat.

He said administrators from both districts agreed Friday morning that it would be “best to run the game during the daylight.”

Superintendent John Davis of RSU 57, the Massabesic school district, said he supported Sanford officials’ decision to postpone the game, which is traditionally the last of the season for each team.

“I’m sorry it has gotten to his level. I don’t think it was a serious threat, but in this day and age you take everything serious,” he said. “I think it was the bravado of the rivalry that has existed for quite some time.”

Davis said Massabesic High School Principal Christian Elkington met with students early Friday to speak to them about the incident.

“He let them know the seriousness of it and that you can’t joke around,” Davis said. “It’s tantamount to joking about a threat in an airport. Even if you’re angry, you can’t say things that scare people and expect nothing to come of it.”

Theoharides sent a message to parents around noon Friday to tell them the game had been postponed because of a safety concern.

He said Sanford doesn’t plan to have more police officers than usual at the game, but that members of the York County Sheriff’s Department, who work with Massabesic students, might be there, as well.

“They feel comfortable that tomorrow they will have eyes and ears out there and will be ready to go,” he said about the police.

Theoharides commended the Massabesic student who “had the guts to come forward” and report the comment to school officials.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

[email protected]


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