St. Francis High School will forfeit its Friday game against Chicago Hope Academy after gunfire interrupted a game at the school last week.
The game, which was scheduled for Friday night at Altgeld Park, will not take place amid concerns for player safety after athletes, coaches, and fans had to take cover when a shooting occurred at an intersection near the football field.
“Regrettably the combination of shots being fired near last Friday’s game, and the lack of other venues, led us to believe the safest option for all would be to not play this Friday night and forfeit the game,” St. Francis President Tom Bednar said.
St. Francis reportedly offered to host the game at their campus in Wheaton, with proceeds and travel expenses being covered by the school, but Hope Academy declined the offer. Hope Academy also offered to start the game three hours earlier and with increased security, but a compromise could not be reached.
"We've spent a lot of time talking with Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office, so that there will be a cop every 10 yards," Hope Academy President Bob Muzikowski said. "This would have been the safest place in Chicago."
Relocating the game was never considered by Hope Academy, as administrators believe it would have sent a bad message.
"It would have sent the message that their place is good and our place is bad," Muzikowski said. "I think we had an opportunity to do something great together, and we missed it."
The game was slated to be Chicago Hope's homecoming game, but now the contest will not be played.
"This is the first time anything has happened in the four years i've been here," Hope Academy player Tyler Wilson said. "I feel perfectly safe on this field."
The shooting occurred during Hope Academy’s game last week against Providence. The shooting took place at the corner of South Washtenaw Avenue and West Harrison Street, according to the paper, and after Chicago police responded to the scene, the game was completed.
“A Chicago police commander (said) that the situation was isolated and not related to the game inside the stadium,” Providence Catholic said in a statement. “Providence Catholic, Hope Academy and the Chicago Catholic League will carefully review security plans, procedures, and logistics for future athletic events to ensure that all student athletes, teams and fans (will be) in a secure and safe environment.”