JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Raines and Ribault high school football fans gathered to celebrate the last game of the regular season on Saturday. Before the afternoon game, there was a parade and tailgating.
"Today means family, inclusion. It means coming together as a community to celebrate one of the biggest events that Jacksonville, Florida, has every year – the Northeast Classic," said fan Sinadia Gailyard.
Safety and security was a top priority for the Duval County School District, which brought in extra Jacksonville Sheriff Office patrols to assist school police officers at the game. The extra precautions seemed to put many people at ease.
"I definitely feel safe, and JSO is here to make sure of that," Gailyard said. "I feel like it is definitely making a difference. It is making everyone feel a little more safer, and it is showing the community does care."
Back on Aug. 24, one person was shot to death and two others were wounded at Raines High School after a football game that Friday night. Since then, the district moved up the start time for the games so that they were played during daylight hours. Most high-profile games were moved to Thursdays or Saturdays.
"I feel like it is a great opportunity. It gets more people to come out. You can bring younger children, and then you feel safer about the environment they are in. So, I think it was a great decision for a community as a whole," Gailyard said.