Scranton School District Postpones Popular Bell Game for Safety Reasons

SCRANTON, Pa. -- A time-honored football game in Scranton is being pushed back nearly 48 hours for safety reasons.

The annual Bell Game that matches West Scranton High and Scranton High is being postponed from its traditional Friday night to Sunday afternoon.

The Scranton High School football team marched into the locker room as practice wrapped Thursday evening at Memorial Stadium. This was supposed to be the night before one of the most popular football games in Scranton.

That's the time-honored Bell Game that pits rivals Scranton and West Scranton against each other on the gridiron.

The district says the game is being pushed back to this Sunday at 4 p.m.

“I'm heartbroken, personally. it's very sad for my family and for the team, they've worked hard,” said team parent Kate Cobley.

In a cryptic message, the district says it's moving the game to Sunday for safety reasons in cooperation with Scranton police.

It didn't say what the safety reasons are, but this comes after two high schools in Lackawanna County received bomb threats.

On Wednesday, Dunmore canceled classes after getting a threat.

Then Thursday morning, West Scranton was evacuated after being alerted about a bomb.

Both schools were searched, and no bombs were found.

Still, people say regardless of why the game was postponed, officials are taking the threats seriously.

“I'm glad if they had an issue that they are going to push it off,” said parent Robyn Gallagher. “I actually work for West Scranton High School so we had a bomb threat today and we had an evacuation. So, if there is something going on it's better just to push it off.”

“It's a big game but it's more about the safety of the kids and the safety of our city and everything like that,” said Scranton football coach Steve Shumbres. “You know a couple years ago a situation came up in the Poconos, same thing, games had to be postponed, it's all about the safety of the kids overall.”

The Lackawanna County District Attorney's Office says those caught making bomb threats would be charged with making terroristic threats.

“Could be a misdemeanor or it could be a felony,” said Lackawanna County First Assistant District Attorney Judy Price. “If the buildings evacuated or the operations are diverted or modified, you can charge a felony of the third degree.”

Scranton police say they don't know what prompted the district to move the game.

The Bell Game will be played on Sunday at 4 p.m.

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