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Norwich Free Academy reschedules Thanksgiving Day football game due to safety concerns

New London

NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH) — When Norwich and New London take the field next Wednesday it will be the 158th meeting between the two teams.

It’s the nation’s longest-running football rivalry and police want to make sure no clashes occur off the field.

That’s why the Thanksgiving game is being moved up to 1 p.m. Wednesday. Nov. 27.

It had originally been scheduled for 6:30 that night.

Police told News 8 there were conflicts between groups from each city and last week Norwich and New London police met with Norwich Free Academy to tell the school about them.

There were no specific threats made.

Norwich Free Academy (NFA) said the time was changed to earlier in the day and there will be an increased police presence out of an abundance of caution.

“There’s always police at the games so that’s not a new thing,” said NFA Communications Director Michael O’Farrell. “Will there be more for this? I think the indications are yes there will be and that’s again why the time is best because they know they an provide the most resources at that time.”

“I understand that there’s a bunch of information going around saying there is gang violence that’s going to happen for the afternoon and that’s why they moved it to the afternoon,” said NFA Senior Riley Burke. “But my question is now if we’re just going to have it at 1 on Wednesday why not have it on Thanksgiving at 10 o’clock. It’s been a tradition for so many years, hundreds of years.”

NFA is closed next Wednesday and New London has half a day so students from both schools should be able to make it on time to see the game.

Last year, the game was on Wednesday night in New London because of the extreme cold expected Thanksgiving Day.

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