Homecoming festivities a success despite incident

staff report

The return of homecoming festivities were marred by a shooting outside the Ben Davis football field Friday night that caused the homecoming game with Carmel to end midway through the fourth quarter with Carmel leading 35-21.

Despite the incident, the homecoming dance went on as scheduled Saturday afternoon, although rain forced the dance to move from the practice band field to the MPA.

“It was a great event,” said student council sponsor Mike Vetter. “I think everyone who attended had a good time.”

An estimated 300 students attended the three hour event Saturday, which included dancing, games and refreshments.

Friday’s game was interrupted by six shots just outside the football field. Local news media reports that 18-year-old David Tillman was arrested for the shooting and that those involved in the incident were not Wayne Township students.. No one inside the football stadium was in danger at the time.

“We have to move forward controlling the things that we have control over,” football coach Jason Simmons said of the incident. “We can control how we carry ourselves, how we represent ourselves, and how we treat other people. We can’t control the personal narratives that some people will carry.

“I would welcome anyone to come spend time at Ben Davis and with our football team. They will quickly learn that we have great young people that are growing and developing everyday. Are they perfect, no, however no one is perfect.”

Simmons was impressed with the quick reaction of school administration.

“Our administration and security team are to be commended for the work that took place on Friday,” Simmons said. “No one inside the stadium was injured during the incident and that speaks to the policies and procedures that were in place. We are at a point in our society where these things are happening way too frequently and the ability to completely control everything has become harder and harder.”

Assistant principal Jessica Earnest said at no time was it considered to postpone the homecoming event Saturday.

“We wanted to make sure that we were able to have this event for our students,” Earnest said. “Through the pandemic, we know that students have missed these traditional experiences. We made sure that we put additional security checks in place so that we could move forward with the event.”

Earnest said the most fun for her was seeing all the students dress up.

“Students were so excited,” she said. “They were dressed up and showed Ben Davis resilience and pride.”

Earnest said that prom is scheduled for April 30 at the Children’s Museum and that she is looking forward to the return of that dance for later in the year.

Simmons indicated the team is ready to move on from the weekend and return to the game of football.

“Our football team was great this weekend,” he said. “We took some time to process Friday night after the game was called. Our JV players competed and played hard Saturday morning and we took some time to process more with our varsity players.”

The Giants visit Lawrence Central this Friday before hosting North Central for senior night on October 15. The IHSAA will conduct the draw for the state tournament this Sunday.