Field conditions force Pickerington Central to move game against Pickerington North

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The annual rivalry football game between Pickerington North and Pickerington Central High Schools is almost always played for a soldout crowd, and Police say you can always count on a fight for victory on the field.

"The on the field rivalry...it's heated. The games are hard-hitting," said Commander Tod Cheney with the Pickerington Police Department.

The games may be hard-hitting, but right now the football field at Central is soft. The field sits in a floodplain and recent heavy rains have made it impossible to play.

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The Pickerington School District moved Friday's game to Gahanna Lincoln High School.

The change of venue means the Gahanna Police Department is suddenly in charge of security for an estimated 7,500 fans in the stands.

David Balls, the Public Relations Director for Pickerington Schools, called the rivalry friendly.

"We love to say we're two schools, two high schools, but one community," said Ball.

Police are pooling resources. Pickerington's DARE school resource officer will team up with police and a large contingency of Pickerington principals, assistant principals, and administrative staff will attend the game like they do every week, because they're familiar with the students and the fans. Police agree that while the rivalry on the field is intense,

"Off the field, the students, the people attending the game, generally this is one of our easier games to work. We rarely have any kind of major problems," said Commander Cheney.

The Pickerington School District said it's grateful to Gahanna for opening its stadium doors.

"It's a great facility," said Ball. "If we can't play here at home, it's a great plan B."

Ball said Pickerington School will pay any fees associated with law enforcement protection, like special duty pay, and said it will pay for clean up costs after the game.

Ball said Pickerington will still keep the proceeds from ticket sales, but the Gahanna Lions will reap the profits from concession sales.