Columbus, Ga. (WRBL) – It started out as the highly anticipated 61st annual Heritage Bowl between Carver High School and Spencer High School. Even former players fondly remember playing at AJ McClung Memorial Stadium.

“I tell you what I took a great deal of pride playing in that game. I played in four of them from 1977 to 1980,” said former Carver Tiger All-American DJ Jones.

This year’s Heritage Bowl was driven into chaos because of an incident at the end of the third quarter. The game would be eventually stopped. Multiple police vehicles showed up at Memorial Stadium and escorted everyone out.

Reports later revealed that a fight between two females, both who weren’t students at either Carver or Spencer, spiraled into a bigger incident. Columbus Police said some juveniles outside the stadium showed they had firearms, and that caused a big panic and people to run inside the stadium.

CPD arrested three juveniles, a pair of 15-year-olds and one 16-year-old, on gun charges. One Columbus parent, Quincy Rojas, posted on his Facebook account how he and his two boys went from watching the Heritage Bowl to all of a sudden running for safety.

In the same post Rojas said “my kids told me if I can’t have my weapon on me then they don’t wanna go anywhere.” Spencer and Carver alumni were heartbroken and disappointed that the Heritage Bowl ended like that, and worry it could affect the family reunion kind of feeling around the annual match up.

“It hurts. It definitely hurts, and it stings bad because you have a lot generations that come back. Then you have the elders from Spencer that are from the 1940 class, and the 1950 class that are coming back home. It hurts having to see them to flee or get down. Then wonder what they’re thinking. Will they come back after this?” said Demarco Johnson, Spencer High Class of 1996 and a former Greenwave football player.

In fact, with the game being shut down so quickly, the incident could have also cost some players valuable connections they need in their football career.

“I know for a fact on Spencer’s sideline you had some recruiters. You had some former players that played in college. You had some former players that played in the NFL that could have helped the next person. With us acting like that, you know people coming into the game with that energy you’re not just affecting you, you’re affecting everybody,” said Johnson.

Unfortunately, this chaotic ending in the third quarter is a memory that will last for years. Now alumni just want people to step up and make a difference.

“We the parents, and the kids have a responsibility to step up. The administrators have a responsibility, and the city government, obviously, and law enforcement. We need to step it up because again, this is not good,” said Jones.

The Muscogee County School District released the following update to News 3:

“We are reviewing all procedures, and changes will be forthcoming to ensure the safety of visitors, students, and staff at all athletic events.”

WRBL will follow up with school district officials about what those new game day procedures will look like.