GILBERT, Ariz. -- Gilbert police are investigating whether pregame pranksters spray-painted racially charged language, slurs and graphic images on a high school campus.
Volunteers spent much of Thursday painting over the graffiti that was plastered on a mural outside of Gilbert High School.
Students arrived Thursday morning to find the mural, the concession stand, doors, and parts of the track and field defaced.
Almost immediately, a war of words erupted on social media as cross-town rivals at Mesquite High began mocking the students.
Part of the graffiti included school pride for Mesquite, and police now believe their main suspects are students at the school.
Thursday is the first varsity football game of the season between the two schools. Police believe this was a rivalry taken too far.
Detectives are now reviewing social media posts and surveillance video, hoping they will help them catch the vandals.
"It's unfortunate that a sporting event would motivate somebody to do this amount of damage to an educational facility," Sgt. Jesse Sanger said. "That is definitely not the spirit of sportsmanship."
The PTRO vowed to not let the actions dampen school spirit. They assembled a team of parents, community members and students to cover up the vandalism.
"There's not this feeling of let's get all angry about it," says Alisa Yocum, vice president of the PTRO. "It's, let's come together and solve the problem."