Eight Palos Verdes High School students were arrested Friday, hours after they allegedly covered the home-side bleachers at Peninsula High School's football stadium in Rolling Hills Estates with red paint -- their own school's signature color.
The vandalism, a prank that perhaps got a little out of hand, occurred as the lead-up to the big rivalry football game between the Palos Verdes Estates campus' Sea Kings and the home team, Peninsula Panthers.
"Our stadium was hit very badly," Peninsula Principal Mitzi Cress said. "Rivalries are fun but sometimes they take an unhealthy turn."
A custodian discovered the painted bleachers about 5 a.m. Cress said red paint covered 20 rows across four sections of aluminum bleachers installed over the summer.
"They definitely had paint rollers," Cress said.
Vandals also wrote obscenities and spread red paint on the stadium's rubberized running track. Cress estimated the damage at $10,000.
Sheriff's deputies took a vandalism report, and later were contacted by Palos Verdes High officials who had detained several students as suspects when they arrived at school, sheriff's Lt. John Wolak said. Deputies went to the campus and arrested six boys under 18 years old, and two 18-year-olds, Keenan Skelton and Emmett Meyer.
"There is evidence that they committed the crime," Wolak said.
About 20 people spent the morning cleaning the stadium so it would be ready for the 1 p.m. game. Palos Verdes, which is atop the Bay League, beat Peninsula 41-7.
Each principal emailed a letter to parents to notify them about what happened.
"We are definitely going to work on making this a healthier rivalry," Cress said. "My hope is this is the wake-up call that we are all going to, as adults, get these kids to get on track and teach them what a healthy rivalry is all about."
Palos Verdes Principal Nick Stephany referred questions to Martin Griffin, the district's chief academic officer.
Students at Palos Verdes High and Peninsula High -- and its predecessor, Rolling Hills High School -- have had a long-running rivalry on the Peninsula where pranks have occasionally has gone too far.
In 1991, a group of Rolling Hills High School students plucked 52 mailboxes from outside Palos Verdes Estates homes and used the containers to spell "RH" on the Palos Verdes High football field. Police arrested two students, but said up to 16 were involved.
Follow Larry Altman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/larryaltman