Sheriff's Office Investigating High School Football Brawl
The Fairfield County Sheriff's Office and Ohio High School Athletic Association are investigating Friday night's bench-clearing brawl at Pickerington North High School in its playoff football game with Groveport Madison High.
Fairfield County Sheriff Alex Lape told The Sussi Report, "the investigation is ongoing, and a detective has been assigned to the case." To date, Lape said there had been no arrests.
The two school districts are also trying to get to the bottom of Friday's alarming display of unsportsmanlike conduct by players, coaches and fans.
"The District is investigating the incident and will take appropriate disciplinary action as necessary following the conclusion of our investigation," said Jeff Warner, Communications and Community Relations Director for Groveport Madison Schools.
Crystal Davis, Director of Public Relations for Pickerington Local School District, said they're working with the Fairfield County Sheriff's Office and OHSAA and have provided them with security camera footage to assist their investigations.
"We take these events seriously and will provide appropriate discipline and game suspensions for any student or coach who breaks athletic and/or student code of conduct," explained Davis
The brouhaha unfolded with just one second left in the game and Pickerington North High ahead, 24-21. Here is how one Pickerington parent described the melee.
"One big massive pack of people," he recalled. "Coaches and school staff were trying to get control. Next thing you see is Groveport parents on the field getting involved."
He said he watched a Groveport Madison High player slug a Pickerington North High coach in the face. "Someone from Groveport put that player in a headlock and carried him off the field," he said. "It was massive chaos."
Sheriff Lape said three deputies were already on hand Friday night working special duty, and when the fight broke out, he said eight more deputies were dispatched along with an officer with the Pickerington Police Dept.
So, what caused the young athletes to blow their stacks and go after one another? The Fairfield County Sheriff's Office and school officials hope to have an answer soon.
A Groveport Madison High step-mom blames the referees. "The holding and cheap shots Pickerington players took that were not called by refs all game lead to the frustration and anger, and no one stepped up to stop it," she said. "I personally blame the officiating crew for not stopping the issues the whole game. Personal fouls were called, but coaches did not correct behaviors either. It was appalling!"
Friday night's game was live-streamed over the internet, so many of you have seen what went down.
This video was recorded by a Pickerington fan who attended Friday night's game.
If you have a tip, you can message me at 614 779-1885 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please support the local businesses that support Free Press and sponsor The Sussi Report.