Wall High School vs. Manasquan Thanksgiving Football Game Canceled Amid Hazing Investigation
The Wall Township School District has canceled the annual Thanksgiving Day football game between Wall and Manasquan as the investigation continues into hazing allegations surrounding Wall's football team, Shore Sports Network has learned.
SSN has also learned Manasquan will now host Shore Regional on Thanksgiving Day.
Wall Superintendant Tracey Handerhan announced the cancellation in a letter to the community which Townsquare Media has obtained.
"Dear Wall Township Public Schools Community:
The decision has been made to end the football season and not play the Thanksgiving Day game. We acknowledge that this is difficult news for many in our community. Please be assured that the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County is working closely with the Wall High School counseling staff supporting students. If you know of a student that is in need of support please do not hesitate in reaching out to 732-556-2063. In addition, please see the attached document for outside support resources."
Tracy R. Handerhan, D. Litt.
Superintendent of Schools
Manasquan and Wall have played on Thanksgiving for 19 years beginning with the 2000 season. The teams did not play last year due to the covid-altered schedule. The new matchup between Manasquan and Shore Regional pits to traditional championship-contending programs after both lost their respective semifinal playoff games. Manasquan fell to Woodrow Wilson, 34-7, in the Central Jersey Group 3 semifinals and Shore lost to Woodstown, 24-19, in the South Jersey Group 1 playoffs.
"We lost that tough game on Friday in the last two minutes, I come in Saturday to collect uniforms and we do something we always do called 'last lap' where the seniors get up and talk about their experiences," said Shore Regional head coach Mark Costantino. "Kids were crying and it was emotional. I didn't want our season to end so I thought about calling Manasquan just in case the Wall game was canceled. They were interested too depending on what happened in their playoff game and obviously what happened with Wall."
"For my kids, to give them one more game is awesome but I also understand how the Manasquan kids feel. Last year we had a Thanksgiving game set up and one our kids got Covid and we had to get shut down. It's a good matchup, two top-notch programs, there will be a big crowd, so it should be exciting."
The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation last week into hazing allegations against members of Wall's high school football team. The allegations included hazing and bullying of underclassmen players in the school's locker room and a possible instance of sexual assault.
Wall's NJSIAA playoff game vs. Delsea last Friday was canceled and now the final game has also been canceled to officially end the team's season.
School officials and law enforcement officials have not commented on the investigation because the alleged perpetrators are minors.
There is also a separate investigation ongoing after a player involved in the alleged hazing incident was accused of sexual assault at an off-campus party. He was arrested and later released from custody.
In the alleged hazing incident, News 12 reported that there is a video that shows a student sexually assaulting another player. Parents told NJ.com the hazing incident involved juniors attacking sophomores, and that a group of players attempted to hold down a younger player and assault him. The video shows one of the players holding the stick end of a mop or broom. Voices can be heard in the background urging the attackers to stop.
News 12 New Jersey reported that the MCPO is in possession of at least one video.
Three Wall High School football coaches/teachers have also been put on administrative leave but their names have not been made public by the school district.
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