After 89 years of harmless pranks, a middle Tennessee historic football rivalry took a serious turn when a dead bobcat was found hanging from a high school field goal post.
Friday marks the 89th annual rivalry game against Coffee County High School and Tullahoma High School. The game is famously nicknamed the “Coffee Pot,” and bragging rights are always up for grabs.
In past years, pranks have been harmless and good-natured, adding to the lore of the historic rivalry. Tricks such as putting a toilet in the middle of the football field, or cutting the power when the opposition’s band is playing are all done in good fun.
However, Coffee County High School principal Joey Vaughn said that the act of shooting and hanging an innocent animal is taking the prank game to a despicable level.
"There have been various events throughout these years, but this week someone took a high school rivalry and took it too far," Vaughn said in a statement.
The bobcat was initially found hanging on Tuesday morning by Tullahoma students, who at first thought that it was just a stuffed animal. Officials quickly took the animal down, realizing that they were dealing with a far more serious matter.
Although both schools are investigating the incident, there are no leads on who was responsible.
PETA heard reports about the prank and is currently offering $2,500 for any tips that can lead to identifying the culprits. Kristin Simon, a cruelty casework manager for the animal rights group, told the Daily News that PETA would advocate for full charges being pressed against the culprit. If those responsible are students, Simon says that PETA will strongly push the high school to seek expulsion.
(via NY Daily News)
“This stunt shows a lack of concern for life,” Simon said. “If it was intended to be funny, it was not funny at all. We are extremely concerned about it.”
Bobcat hunting season doesn’t start until early November, so closed season penalties would be filed among other charges.
Despite the bobcat incident, the game scheduled for Friday night will go on as planned.
"Rivalries are good but this isn't healthy," Coffee County Director of Schools LaDonna McFall said. "We can behave better than this. We will behave better than this."
Source: NY Daily News
Photo Credit: NY Daily News