The Friday night football game between Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati) and Mason was canceled after a “detailed threat (including a bomb threat),” Mason City Schools said in a statement.
The stadium and parking lot at the Arena, where the annual community tailgate event was happening, were evacuated and emergency vehicles, canines and police personnel were called in to search for possible explosives, the statement said. School officials said everyone was banned from school grounds until police gave the all clear.
Mason police said nothing was found after their search. Police said they will continue to investigate and are committed to finding who is responsible.
The call came in to the Warren County dispatch center at about 6 p.m., Mason Police said. That center dispatches police for most of the county. During a news conference, Mason police said the caller, using a blocked number, said he had planted six pipe bombs in tailgate areas around the stadium. He also threatened that responding officers would be shot.
At approximately 6:10 p.m., the announcer came over the loudspeaker and told fans to clear the stands of Dwire Field at Atrium Stadium.
“We take every threat extremely seriously and greatly appreciate the quick actions of our families, coaches, students and spectators who responded very well in a difficult situation,” Mason City Schools Superintendent Dr. Gail Kist-Kline said in the statement. “We also appreciate our law enforcement partners’ diligence.”
The schools intend to reschedule the game, although a date has not been announced. It is possible the schools could play Saturday. The schools have not played since 2007.
Mason head coach Brian Castner said his team was confused, but evacuated quickly with the rest of their classmates.
“Now is not the time for questions, it’s time to pack up your pads and get home to your families,” Castner told his players. “They were pretty quick.”
Contributing: Cincinnati Enquirer