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Kennedy forfeits football game against Sacramento over lingering safety concerns

A police officer uses pepper spray to break up a fight in the stands during the second quarter as the Sacramento Dragons hosted the Folsom Bulldogs at Hughes Stadium at Sacramento City College on Friday.
A police officer uses pepper spray to break up a fight in the stands during the second quarter as the Sacramento Dragons hosted the Folsom Bulldogs at Hughes Stadium at Sacramento City College on Friday. Special to The Bee

Sacramento High School will not play its home football game in Oak Park on Saturday after Kennedy elected to forfeit over safety concerns.

Local law enforcement met with officials from Kennedy this week to discuss concerns from a fight that broke out in the stands at Hughes Stadium during Sacramento’s last game, a 28-19 loss to Folsom. Kennedy principal David Van Natten elected Wednesday night to declare a forfeit against No. 6 Sacramento, the Metropolitan Conference favorite and defending champion.

“It became clear that there was an issue with safety that could spill into the next game, and we weren’t going to put people at risk,” said Sacramento Unified School District communications director Alex Barrios. “For fans to get carried away and fight, it’s not acceptable. When there’s a situation for organized backlash brewing, we don’t want to put fans and students or anyone at the game at risk.”

Sacramento High officials suggested moving the game to Kennedy’s venue in Greenhaven but Kennedy declined.

“It’s extremely, extremely disappointing, and what’s most bothersome is the fight didn’t include anyone from Sacramento High School,” Sacramento coach Joe McCray said Thursday afternoon. “We’re told it’s a fan safety issue, all because outside influences felt it necessary to get into it, and it dictated what happens to two schools that have nothing to do with it.”

Sacramento made a last-minute attempt to schedule a game at Del Norte High in Crescent City for Friday, but it fell short because of logistics.

“We tell the kids to keep working, that this isn’t in their control,” he said.

Kennedy would be 0-4 after the forfeit and Sacramento 3-1.

During Friday’s fight, an officer for the Los Rios Police Department shot pepper spray into a crowd of spectators, prompting a complaint from a Sacramento High administrator who said it was not deployed at a specific person.

The incident is under review by the district police department.

Gabe Ross, Los Rios Community College District spokesman, said the district’s police department has made no arrests in connection to Friday’s incident.

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Nashelly Chavez contributed to this report.

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