CHICAGO, Ill. — Metro East Lutheran High School's football game was canceled Friday night after a shooting took place just outside of the home team's stadium.
The team was supposed to play the Hansberry College Prep Academy in Chicago's South Side.
The shooting happened a little before kickoff on the southern end of the stadium along East 50th Street.
Chicago police told 5 On Your Side there were three victims. None of them were high school students but investigators said they know these guys pretty well.
The whole ordeal has the Metro East Luthern High team pretty shaken up.
"The lights are on, they know we’re playing a football game and they still shoot up the block," said head coach Micah Pomerenke.
It's a scenario that Pomerenke admitted he didn't have in his playbook.
"But it’s a pretty unbelievable experience," he said.
The Metro East Lutheran Knights had just returned to the locker room after pre-game warm-ups when word spread that a shooting had taken place just yards away from the stadium.
A few parents who traveled to watch the game told the coach what happened.
"From talking to some of the people out there, they’re talking automatic weapons, 30-50 shots going off. There’s a chase going down the street that I guess went by the field," said Pomerenke.
Both teams agreed to cancel the game.
"It’s a safety thing. I think everyone understood we’re not going to play," he said.
Even leaving the stadium wasn't easy. Pomerenke said the bus had to be rerouted a few times to get out of a dangerous part of the city.
"For myself, it’s kind of hard to understand," said Pomerenke.
The team returned to Edwardsville Saturday afternoon with exhausted players on board, and relieved parents in the parking lot.
The coach said it's probably too soon to try to turn this into a teaching moment for his team.
"Maybe as time goes on we can look back and say, oh it made us understand this this and this better," he said.
Much like the timing of a well-executed play, he's grateful his X's and O's were in the right place at the right time.
"It’s really a miracle. God was watching over us," said Pomerenke.
Pomerenke said the team traveled all the way to Chicago because they're an independent team and don't have conference opponents. The schedule is determined by other independent teams that are willing to play them.
The Knights will return to Chicago in early October to play Kelly High School.