It’s one of the biggest high school football rivalries in our area. But many people are now saying the rivalry between Phillipsburg High School and Easton Area High School has gone too far.
For the past 106 years, the Easton Red Rovers and the Phillipsburg Suzy Stateliners have faced off in a Thanksgiving Day showdown.
“I’m sure tonight we’ll come out,” said Kris Horton, a place kicker for the Red Rovers. “All of our signs will be spray-painted like every year.”
Elaborate pranks between the two schools have long been part of the rivalry. Yet while those pranks have been funny for the most part very few people are amused by two recent incidents.
It began Friday when Easton’s Red Rover statue was found damaged after it had been stolen. Things soon escalated however after a dead cat was found on the front door of Phillipsburg High on Tuesday.
“I think the cat hanging on the door was a little absurd,” said Danielle Chapkovich, a senior at Phillipsburg High. “They should’ve done something else.”
“Yeah, that’s like, a bit too vicious for something that’s supposed to be just for fun,” said Justin Mangaoang, another senior at Phillipsburg.
The students aren’t the only ones who are shocked by the incident.
“Stealing an ornament is one thing,” said George Devlin, of Phillipsburg. “But having a dead animal, I don’t think that’s what the tradition is supposed to be.”
Investigators don’t believe the cat was killed for the prank but was instead found dead by the culprits.
“I think it was a couple rogue guys,” said Shabarreon Banks, a cornerback for Easton. “I don’t think we would take actions like that, to hang a cat in front of a school.”
Phillipsburg students say the statue thieves were disciplined and want action taken against those responsible for hanging the cat.
“If they’re going to get fined then the kids from Easton should definitely get some kind of punishment,” said Loren Kaiser, a senior at Phillipsburg. “It’s just not fair and it’s not going to set a good example for rivalries in the future.”
No one from either school district or the Phillipsburg Police Department wanted to comment on the incident.
The two schools face off tomorrow morning at Lafayette College. Easton leads the all-time series 59 to 41 with five ties.