GERMANTOWN, Md. — Friday night football looked a little different in Montgomery County Friday night. An early game and tight security after a string of incidents – including a large fight one week ago.
The stands were filled on both sides with folks cheering on their favorite teams. Capacity is typically 6000 at the stadium, but on Friday Montgomery County Public Schools officials decided to cap it at 5000.
The game started at 4:30 p.m., hours earlier than normal and most fans we spoke with seemed to like the early start time.
“I drove around looking for a parking space, couldn’t find parking anywhere, all the lots are filled, I mean this a huge game. It’s the game of the week in Montgomery county, probably in this whole area,” Brandy Simms said.
Simms doesn’t miss a game, even if he has to watch from afar. After a fight at the Seneca Valley game last week, the district decided to move the start time up for the Northwest versus Quince Orchard game.
“I didn’t realize there’d be this many people here so maybe it’s a good idea to start the games early,” Simms added.
The stands were packed, and fans were geared up, Lisa Sweney-Walker said even though her kids have graduated, they still enjoy Friday night football.
“I think it was a good idea since it’s getting dark early, I think it was a good call to do that. It’s unfortunate with recent things that have happened how it’s put a damper on how fun the rivalry can be,” Sweney-Walker said.
Supporters from each school were separated. Middle schoolers had to be accompanied by an adult and high school-aged students had to show their school identification cards. The district says earlier start times could happen in the future.
“Do we have big rivalries? Are there issues we need to look into? And then we’ll apply all those mitigation strategies we told the community about if necessary and it won’t always be necessary,” Chris Cram, Director of Communications for Montgomery County Public Schools, said.
Usually, there are about five officers at a game, to err on the side of caution, there were 15 Montgomery County officers at Friday's game.
There was one common theme though, no matter who you were rooting for.
“It was a little bit of an inconvenience but it’s a game so you gotta go,” Mike said.
The game ended without any fights with Northwest falling to Quince Orchard 31-0.