Security raised for EC/Newnan game

by Wes Mayer

With competitive spirit rising for the big rivalry football game between East Coweta High School and Newnan High School tonight, the schools and public safety departments are making sure students and fans don't get too out of hand. 'We met with the schools and the sheriff 's office,' said Newnan Police Chief Douglas 'Buster' Meadows, 'and we have had extra security at both schools at nights this week. For the game, we will have a security presence inside and outside the stadium.'

This year, the game will be held in Drake Stadium at Newnan High School, and about 7,000 to 8,000 seats are predicted to be filled by visiting and home fans. Meadows said about 15 Newnan officers were hired by the high school for security, and Coweta County Sheriff Mike Yeager said six school resource officers and two K-9 units will be around the field and on the visitor's side to assist Newnan police.

'Usually all the trouble happens before the game,' Yeager said. 'But so far nothing has happened this year. Hopefully it will be good game, and hopefully crowds will come to support the teams.'

Last year, two East Coweta students and a former student were disciplined after toppling the cougar statue at Newnan High School down the hill.

'It was just a group of kids who thought it would be funny,' Meadows said. 'But it went a little too far.'

This year, the principals of both schools, Evan Horton and Chase Puckett, have taken the time to go around and speak to the students about good behavior, said Horton, principal of East Coweta High School. Horton said with the thousands of people involved, usually something happens, even if it is just someone putting a sign in someone else's yard.

'Any time we have a large event, we always have a security or supervision plan,' Horton said. 'We have had communications with the kids to counsel them to make good decisions throughout the week. So far, so good.'

Puckett said the schools' administrations have worked in tandem with the sheriff's office and local police to estimate the crowds, traffic and security. He said the rivalry is a tradition, and hopes it will be kept at a positive level with all the excitement.

'We want our students the be passionate and excited about the game, but to remember we are all part of the same community,' Puckett said. 'We look forward to inviting our friends over from across the county.'

The football game between the East Coweta Indians and Newnan Cougars begins Friday at 7:30 p.m.

The Newnan Times-Herald will be live-streaming the game through WSB-TV on the newspaper's website, www. times-herald.com.



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