Tuesday, September 26, 2000

Rowdiness may end Beechwood-CovCath game

By Lori Hayes
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Covington Catholic and Beechwood high schools might not meet again on the football field.

        After a rowdy game between the teams that resulted in vandalism at both schools, Beechwood and CovCath officials will meet next month to decide whether the matches should continue.

        “If it has become too much of a burden on both schools to play each other because of the incidents, then the suggestion is to drop the games each year,” Beechwood Superintendent Fred Bassett said Monday.

        Last week, Beechwood fans criticized CovCath students' unruly behavior before and during the Sept. 16 game between the Northern Kentucky rivals.

        On the Thursday before the game, two windows and a stop sign were broken on school buses parked in front of Beechwood High. A storage room under the football stadium press box also had been broken into. Signs left at the school suggested that CovCath students were responsible.

        At the game, witnesses said some CovCath students chanted vulgarities at Beechwood fans as they walked to their seats.

        “We have no reason to not play them, other than the worry about continuing problems like this,” Mr. Bassett said. “If we have some assurance from them that this could never happen again, that would be fine.”

        In turn, CovCath fans complained about actions by Beechwood students, pointing out that someone spray-painted Beechwood's logo on CovCath's track.

        The track defacement was the work of two Fort Mitchell fifth-graders, Mr. Bassett said Monday.

        The vandals — a student from Beechwood Elementary and another from Blessed Sacrament Elementary School — admitted last week that they painted “BHS Tigers” on the track. The youngsters used a can of washable spray, often used by students to brightly color their hair, that they found at the game, Mr. Bassett said. Over the weekend, the stu dents and their parents washed the markings off the track.

        “We pride ourselves on trying to make sure our students behave responsibly; and when they don't, we try to make sure they suffer some consequences,” Mr. Bassett said.

        Covington Catholic principal Jack Kennevan said last week that the reports of vulgarity were hearsay. And although there was no proof that his students were responsible, Mr. Kennevan said he would pay for the property damage.

        That could cost as much as $500, Mr. Bassett said.

        Mr. Kennevan said Monday he was working with Mr. Bassett but declined to comment further.

        Mr. Bassett said similar incidents have occurred over the past several years when the rivals have faced each other. But the schools are in different classes under state standards, so they don't have to play each season.

        “Maybe we could find a way to get the two student bodies to come together,” Mr. Bassett said.


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