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Student in custody after threat postpones football game

A student is in custody after alleged threats forced the postponement of Friday night's football game at Columbia High School.

"We have been informed that the student who made the threat is in custody of the Columbia Borough Police Department and the investigation is ongoing," the district wrote in an update on its website at 8:03 p.m. "The district wishes to express appreciation for the decisive action, cooperation, and efficient work of CBPD."

The football game between Columbia and York Suburban was postponed prior to kickoff after Columbia school officials received word of a possible threat made by a student, officials said.

"Whenever we get a threat, we take it very seriously," said Tom Strickler, director of operations for the Columbia Borough School District. "At this point, it was just a concern for safety."

There was an announcement about the game's postponement over the loudspeakers and everyone in attendance left calmly, Strickler said.

The game's postponement comes on the heels of a double shooting at the parking lot outside of Small Field during a game between William Penn Senior High School and J.P. McCaskey High School. Officials kept the crowd of nearly 2,000 inside the stadium following last Friday night's shooting until they determined the scene was safe.

In Columbia on Friday, school district officials immediately began working with borough police to determine the seriousness of the threat, the district said in an initial statement posted to its website.

"Less than an hour ago school officials received word that a possible threat existed as a result of a statement made by a student," the district wrote on its website at 7 p.m.

Columbia Borough Police just cleared out from being inside high school. School grounds very quiet. No one here. @ydrcom@GameTimePA_SC

— Gordon Rago (@gragoYDR) September 17, 2016

York Suburban Superintendent Shelly Merkle would not elaborate on details surrounding the game's cancellation.

"We know there's a security concern that's raised enough of a concern that we felt it unsafe to play tonight," Merkle said. "We couldn't guarantee the safety of the community or the players."

The game has been rescheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at York Suburban.

"I'll just chalk this up to another new experience in my 20 years of coaching," York Suburban head coach Andy Loucks said.

Here is the full text of Columbia's initial statement:

"The Football game this evening has been postponed because of a concern for the safety of attendees. School District officials are currently working in conjunction with the Columbia Borough Police Department to determine the seriousness of the threat. Less than an hour ago school officials received word that a possible threat existed as a result of a statement made by a student. More information will be shared when it is available. Given the recent events in the immediate community and surrounding communities, an overabundance of caution is in order at this time."

An hour later, the following message was added:

"The district wishes to express apprecation for the decisive action, cooperation, and efficient work of CBPD. The district also wishes to thank and compliment all who cooperated leaving the field in an orderly manner this evening."

In the aftermath of the York shooting last week, there were discussions of moving some high school football games from Friday nights to Saturday afternoons.

The York City School District school board is expected to vote on such a measure when it meets on Sept. 21.

In addition, the Columbia community was shaken badly over the summer by an incident that took place just blocks from the Columbia Junior/Senior High School. Two teenagers were arrested and charged with trying to kill police officers in a series of shootings that took place early on July 29 near the intersection of Bethel and Locust streets.

Cousins Marquell Rentas, 17, and Trenton Nace, 18, both of Columbia, remain in Lancaster County Prison on $2 million bail.

Rick Stavig contributed to this report