A nasty pre-game fracas between Western Pennsylvania schools New Castle and Central Valley has led to a one-game suspension for a whopping 13 New Castle players and two coaches, with six players and an assistant coach added to the original New Castle group of seven and head football coach Joe Cowart.
The suspensions are countered by the general lack of bans for any players from Central Valley who have been punished for the incident. In the end, just one Central Valley player has been suspended for Friday’s game, related to his actions after the melee had already happened.
Most incredibly, it appears that much of the fracas could have been avoided if both teams understood the circumstances that preceded the fight. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Central Valley team was forced to head to the center of the field because the New Castle band was still on the Central Valley side of the field when it entered the facility. When New Castle trotted on, it saw the Central Valley players milling on their midfield and became enraged, eventually leading to the fight before anything had even happened on the turf.
Now both schools are saying the right things about accountability, even if doing so could have a profound impact on New Castle’s season.
“When you have the aid and benefit of videotape …. it’s the eye in the sky. It’s right there,” John Sarandrea, superintendent of the New Castle Area School District, told the Post-Gazette. “You can’t deny it and you have to take ownership of it. It’s important to self report. … We’re willing to take responsibility for the poor decisions by our coaches and players.”
You can see full, raw video of the incident below.