Eastside High's home opener played in Clifton due to safety concerns

PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- These Eastside High kids shed blood, sweat, and tears for weeks practicing and anticipating their first home game, only to have it stolen away by senseless violence just days ago.

That forced the game on Friday night to be played in Clifton instead of Paterson.

Under the glare of Friday night lights, before hundreds of fans the Eastside High Ghosts were supposed to kick off their season.

Instead the team was haunted by off the field violence Tuesday when gunfire erupted just a block away from their stadium in Paterson.

That prompted their first opponent Clifton to ask for a change of venue.

"I was very concerned," a parent said.

While both coaches declined talking on camera, the handful of Eastside parents who traveled were quick to throw the flag on what they believe was an unfair last minute move.

"It shouldn't have been switched, I understand all the violence that's going on but it was their home game they should've been able to play at home," a parent said.
"I think it is unfair to the kids. They got a home game, you had a chance to have support and everything and now you switch it at the last minute and this is what you get," said Bernard Combs, a parent.

Meanwhile, Clifton Mustangs supporters who packed the home stands were relieved the Paterson school district agreed to the change.

"I think it was 100% correct. Paterson, lot of trouble there and the safety of the kids is what we're worried about, and I think it's a great thing that Eastside was willing to do this," said Robert Harsaghy, a parent.

"I think all of us felt much after having it come to this stadium and hopefully we can do something about this to make it a little bit safer for all the players," said Teri Capparelli, a parent.

Still, all agree safety is a priority and many question how the rest of this season will play out.

"I don't think they'll probably have a home game, a night game, during day, yes, at night, no, that's probably not going to happen," said Gail Warren, a parent.

"There's violence everywhere and the football field is the only thing some of these kids have," a parent said.

Paterson ended up losing the game to Clifton 45-13. Their first home game will be against Passaic, barring any changes, on September 30th.
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