YORK, Pa. - A year after a shooting ended a game on a sour note, the York-William Penn High School Bearcats football team got to play under the lights on Friday night, as most high schools across the country do on a weekly basis.
For the team, a new season is a new opportunity to move forward, but there was no need for adjustment, coach Russ Stoner said.
"We haven't even talked about it," he said. "The kids are excited to be back on Friday night and this is a whole different new year and we're ready to go."
Students say bringing the games back to Friday nights has generated a lot of buzz on-campus.
"They learned their lesson from last year," said Furman Dennis, a York High student. "The violence is stopped and have a good game and we could bring it back to Friday night."
The metal detectors were still in use to enter Smalls Athletic Field, the way they have been for years. The improvements mostly happened in the parking lot, which is where the shooting happened.
"We have some updates in the parking lot," said Erin James, spokesperson for the York City School District. "That was the area we wanted to make sure we focused any upgrades on, so there's some extra lighting, there's some more cameras as well, and we'll have York City Police help us out with the parking lot patrols."
Those volunteering to raise funds for different student activities also prefer the change back to Fridays, although they understood why the changes were made in the first place.
"Friday nights are easier than Saturday," said Cheryl Hernandez, a parent volunteer. "It was an interruption of your daily things that you need to do on Saturday at home, your tests and stuff like that, so being back on Fridays is wonderful."
Now that the focus is on the gridiron, the Bearcats are hoping to show their opponents and city what they're made of.
"Football here means a lot, and we're hoping to put on a great show tonight and give York City something to be proud of," Stoner said.
York indeed handled its business, defeating Reading 26-14.