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Granite City High School withdraws from athletic conference over safety concerns

GRANITE CITY, Ill. - The sign at the Granite City High School rally said it all -- "The Wait Is Over."

The 2017 football season has kicked off for the Granite City Warriors. This year, they’ll face O’Fallon, Edwardsville, and East St. Louis footballs squads, but next year they’ll be calling new plays on new fields.

“Southwest Conference has been good to Granite City,” Athletic Director John Moad said. “It’s a quality conference with a lot of quality people working within the conference. We’ve enjoyed our time there.”

Moad is speaking in past tense because this is the last season his teams will be playing in the Southwestern Conference.

“A lot of factors went into our decision but--bottom-line--we feel like we made the best decision for our kids,” he said.

In March, a Granite City-East St. Louis basketball game had to be canceled after reports of someone having a gun in the stands. Moad said that situation was taken into consideration, but wasn’t the deciding factor.

“There was an incident down there, but it could happen anywhere,” he said. “So we just...as athletics directors of the different conferences, we just disagreed on the precautions we wanted to put in place.”

Trevor Corey played football for Granite City last year and knows firsthand what it’s like to be in player's cleats.

“I know we had a couple close calls, off the field incidents, playing at different area schools, and on the field,” Corey said. “I’m not the biggest guy. We don’t have many big guys compared to other schools, so it was a little tough.”

But for now, Moad said his team plans to focus on putting points on the board so that trophies can be put on the shelf.

“I think it’s an exciting time for our kids too,” Moad said. “To play opponents we don’t usually face.”

To be clear – this removal includes all sports at Granite City High School from the conference. The school will go independent for a few years and create its own schedules.