Tahlequah Daily Press

Z_CNHI News Service

September 6, 2013

Fight after high school game has serious consequences

It was warm and muggy, but that didn’t matter, for opening night is always special for Alabama high school football teams. Walker hosted Cullman at Gambrell/Ki-Ro Field in Jasper, Ala. The rivals battled through four quarters before Cullman rallied from a 10-point deficit late in the game to pull out a heart-stopping 13-10 victory. Too bad the story about the game didn’t end there.

What had been a splendidly played season opener turned into something ugly, something that will carry negative ramifications for the rest of the year. Maybe longer than that.

As the exhausted teams began walking off the field, without the traditional postgame handshake, a Cullman assistant coach, Matt Hopper, walked by the Walker sidelines near the 30-yard line, where a TV clip shows Coach John Holladay taking a step or two toward Hopper and launching a punch with his right hand. The men fell to the ground and battled until separated by other coaches and police. Hopper seemed to get the worst of it, showing a bruised and bloody face and a ripped shirt.

It was another moment where sportsmanship was benched in favor of mayhem. But this flare-up was different. It was two coaches, men who should have known better, and not teenage athletes still learning to control their emotions.

What precipitated the fight remains unclear. What is clear is the quick action taken by the Alabama High School Athletic Association and its executive director, Steve Savarese. Both coaches drew season-ending suspensions. Walker, partially because of a football incident last year, has been disqualified from this year’s playoffs. Each school was fined $1,500.

Earlier in the week, Holladay, who led his team to a region championship last year, had been placed on administrative leave and an interim coach was named. He resigned the next day, ending a seven-year career there having won two-thirds of his games.

Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
Poll

What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Stocks