On the eve of Friday’s rivalry game, students at Nipomo High School apparently tried to frame Arroyo Grande High School in a crude overnight prank that sparked a report to police and investigations on both campuses.
On Friday morning, Nipomo High School quarterback Gavin Hall woke up on his 18th birthday to an unexpected gift on his doorstep: a card containing a homophobic reference and off-color remarks about his school, signed “AG.”
Strewn along the front walkway were blue and yellow streamers, Arroyo Grande High School’s team colors, according to photos provided to The Tribune by Richard Hall, Gavin’s father.
Nipomo coach Tony Dodge said the perpetrators also targeted about five other players on the Nipomo football team. Cars of the Nipomo players were toilet-papered and handwritten notes left at their homes, according to Dodge, who did not want to name the players or the exact contents of the notes.
Dodge said he reported the incidents to Arroyo Grande High School due to the apparent connection.
Worried about the personal nature of the notes, Richard Hall contacted police.
But it was apparently all a ruse, intended to motivate the Nipomo team in Friday night’s game. “We have been able to conclude that it was our own student body and not anyone from Arroyo Grande,” athletic director Russ Edwards said Friday evening. “That is through our investigation.”
The card left at the Hall doorstep, which contained a printed Bible verse inside, included a scrawled handwritten message that said in part, “You did us a favor … Nip-homo sucks — AG.”
On Twitter on Friday afternoon, players from Arroyo Grande’s varsity football team insisted no player on their team would commit such an act. They also came to Gavin Hall’s defense.
“It is unfortunate that someone had the urge to leave that on his doorstep, he is a great player and a great kid,” tweeted Arroyo Grande lineman Danny Shiraishi. “Our apologies go out to (Gavin Hall) and his family for this. We will find out who is responsible.”
“(Gavin) has been my best friend since he moved here and I can give you my 100% clarity that AGFB wouldn’t do that,” tweeted Arroyo Grande tight end Joel Bishop.
“We are all higher then (sic) this at least at the varsity level and I could expect no other levels to act like that either,” tweeted Arroyo Grande defensive lineman Cole Cunningham.
Arroyo Grande coach Tom Goossen and athletic director Dwight MacDonald said they are investigating the incident and would address the team before the Friday night game.
“Do I think this should ever happen to any kid? Absolutely not,” Goossen said, adding he does not have all the facts of the situation yet. “I have nothing but respect for Gavin Hall.”
“We will deal with this if we find out if it’s anyone on the team.”
Nipomo High School Principal John Denno and Lucia Mar Unified School District Superintendent Raynee Daley did not immediately return calls for comment Friday evening. Both high schools are in the Lucia Mar district.