Panther Valley School District Superintendent Rosemary Porembo has released a statement urging good sportsmanship and conduct from everyone involved with tonight's Panther Valley at Tamaqua football game.

The Anthracite League contest has come under scrutiny after Panther Valley head coach Frank Damian told THE TIMES NEWS on Tuesday that he would be withdrawing from the sidelines for the game.

The circumstances surrounding Damian's action have not been disclosed.

Tamaqua Area Superintendent Carol Makuta responded to the TIMES NEWS article and Damian's statement on Thursday, saying that it is a "total mispresentation of the situation."

Makuta stated Tamaqua athletes, the school and community are unjustly receiving a black eye over the implications from the statement, and that Tamaqua's athletes have conducted themselves in an appropriate manner during this season.

Makuta assured spectators for tonight's game that security and police will be in place, as always, to insure the game is played in a safe environment.

In her statement, received by THE TIMES NEWS yesterday afternoon after Thursday's edition had gone to press, Porembo said assistant coach Matt Davis will serve as interim head coach of the Panthers tonight.

No other mention was made of Damian, who is a teacher in the district.

The following is the text of Porembo's statement.

"The Panther Valley School District aligns itself with the philosophy of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. The opportunity for boys and girls to represent their school and community as they participate in interscholastic activities is a privilege unique to young people in American education. As educators, we believe that participation in interscholastic activities offers students significant lifelong learning experiences that cannot be duplicated in any other instructional setting.

"The Panther Valley Football Team will travel to Tamaqua School District on Oct. 22, 2010. This rivalry is an example of tradition, which always provided student athletes the opportunity to display pride in oneself, team and school through the students' love of the game and athletic ability. The Panther Valley School District prides itself on fair play and focus on the team, rather than an individual. To be consistent with this philosophy, our team will be under the direction of Interim Head Coach, Matt Davis.

"I recommend to our community of fans to support all athletes and performers who will take the field. The Tamaqua School District and its community has always conducted itself in a professional manner, whether hosting an event or manning a sporting or academic team with outstanding students. I encourage both communities to serve as a role model for our students as we support our teams during the game, and after," concluded Porembo's statement.