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No fans allowed: Gates kept locked for Collinwood vs. Shaw high school football game amid 'high tensions'

A spokesperson for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District confirmed there was a fight before the game, but couldn't provide details.

CLEVELAND — Friday night lights were dimmed for some east side students and parents after the decision that no spectators were allowed at the Collinwood-East Cleveland Shaw high school football game.

The closest you could get to the football field was the touch of a chain-link fence. Parents, students and alumni were all turned away at the gates.

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“To be denied today is ludicrous,” Walter Melton, a parent-figure to many students on Shaw high school’s football team said.

“We don’t have a lot of big rivalry games in the community and everybody was excited about this game,” said Collinwood alum Jeffrey Lanier.

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District made the announcement just hours before the game, saying that no spectators would be allowed due to “heightened tensions.”

A spokesman for the district confirmed to 3News that there was a fight before the game, but couldn’t provide the details on the who, when and where.

“Anybody that supports these kids should’ve been allowed,” Melton said. “The parents should be allowed to support their kids.”

Some parents met the disappointment at the gates. Jeanette Sanabria, for example, learned she couldn’t watch her senior Collinwood son play minutes before kickoff.

“It’s his last year and he really begged a lot of people to come,” Sanabria said. “I feel bad for all the twelfth graders. Fans are everything to them.”

Other alumni were filled with anticipation for the rivalry game they wouldn’t be able to watch in person.

“They have parents, cousins, aunties that want to come see them play ball and now they can’t,” Collinwood alumni, James Boston said. “It just ruins it for everybody. That makes no sense to me.”

Fans told 3News they not only feel for the players, but the vendors, many of whom depend on the large crowd’s spirit for revenue.

“With this getting zero dollars, zero money coming in, that means that there is no money being allocated to the schools,” Lanier said.

“People love their Friday night football,” Melton said.

Many fans told us they understand safety, but asked not to punish the fans, families, and more importantly, the players.

There is no word yet on whether spectators will or will not be allowed at future games.

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