American football is a contact sport, and some trash-talking and (legalised) physical assault between players is always expected. In a high school game in Alabama on Monday, though, it was the coaches who did most of the fighting.
Skipping the usual post-game speeches at midfield, Cullman HS assistant coach Matt Hopper started jawing with Walker HS coach John Holladay. Holladay then landed a right hand on Hopper, sparking a free-for-all that involved coaches, players, and police officers.
Hopper sustained the most damage, with a big purple welt under his left eye and a ripped shirt. He continued shouting at Holladay even after being taken away, but tried to get back at Holladay, forcing the police to take him down.
It was an emotionally-charged game for Cullman, who defeated Walker 13-10 on a 6-yard rush with just 18 seconds left. Both teams had 20 penalties between them; a referee error cost Walker possession late in the second half.
While Hopper sustained the bigger bruises, he got away with it as far as school officials were concerned.
"There is no need to reprimand our coaches and players ... They acted with class and dignity during the situation," Cullman School Board President Suzanne Harbin said.
On the other hand, Holladay has been given administrative leave by Walker HS officials, pending the results of the investigation. The Alabama High School Athletic Association has also suspended Holladay. Police in the town of Jasper are also gathering information about the incident.
"The AHSAA is saddened by the incident that occurred during the Cullman vs. Walker varsity football game and disappointed by the actions of those involved. Our coaches are teachers first, and must demonstrate examples of good sportsmanship at all times," AHSAA Director Steve Savarese said in a press statement.
School Superintendent Doreen Griffeth was confident that the brawl did not reflect the sportsmanship of Alabama high schools.
"This is an isolated incident, and is not indicative of the good sportsmanship demonstrated by the more than 10,000 coaches in our state every day."
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2013: Models' Ramp Walk Aired on Tuesday [PHOTOS]
- Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2013: Bold, Sexy and Sensuous Lingerie Fashion [PHOTOS]
- Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2013: Drooling Guys, Conscious Girls, Naughty Jokes on Twitter [SEE PHOTOS]
- Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2013: Best Pictures From The Sexiest Show Ever [ SEE PHOTOS/VIDEOS]