High School Sports

All-out brawl follows rivalry football game in Greenville

Hickory Ridge-East Meck high school football incident

Monday night, Hickory Ridge and East Mecklenburg High's football teams had a bench-clearing incident that resulted in N.C. High School Athletic Association penalties for both teams
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Monday night, Hickory Ridge and East Mecklenburg High's football teams had a bench-clearing incident that resulted in N.C. High School Athletic Association penalties for both teams

In Mecklenburg County Monday, two fights broke out at two high school football games. Those fights cost four teams their seasons and may’ve cost three of them potential playoff berths.

In eastern North Carolina Thursday night, another all-out brawl broke out after Winterville’s South Central High School beat Greenville Conley 28-27 for a conference championship.

After a similar post-game fight between Independence and Rocky River Monday, the N.C. High School Athletic Association ultimately forced both teams to forfeit their final two games of the 2018 season and be banned from any playoff games. After players suspensions, neither school had enough eligible players to move forward.

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It’s yet to be seen how the NCHSAA will rule on a similar case in Pitt County Thursday, but both South Central (10-0) and Conley (7-3) would be playoff eligible.

Greenville Conley coach Nate Conner was visibly upset after a post-game brawl between his team and South Central High Thursday night. South Central beat Conley 28-27. Carl Copeland newsobserver.com

Thursday’s incident appeared to begin after a large group of South Central fans rushed the field from the visitor’s side to celebrate. Then, a South Central student or fan attempted to plant the school’s flag, postgame, near the middle of Conley’s field. Conley coach Nate Conner was seen after the game visibly upset about the flag planting.

“You planted the flag on our field,” Conner is seen talking to a South Central coach. That coach responds, “You blaming me?”

Conner relies, “Yeah, I’m blaming your kids for planting a flag on our field.”

After the game, Conner told the Daily Reflector that he was not going to elaborate on the post-game fight or what caused it.

“It was a heck of a football game and a heck of a football game for Pitt County,” Conner said after emerging from the locker room. “Those situations take away from what happened on the football field and I am not going to speak anything else about that.”

Also Thursday night, Wilson County Sheriffs had to use pepper spray to stop a postgame brawl after Wilson Fike beat Wilson Hunt 28-0.

Two similar situations in Mecklenburg County happened on Monday.

At East Mecklenburg High, Harrisburg’s Hickory Ridge High School was beating East Meck 41-7 in the third quarter when a Hickory Ridge player was dragged towards the East Meck student section after a play. A fight broke out with players swinging punches. The game was stopped at that point and the teams sent home.

The same night, at Rocky River, the Ravens beat Mint Hill rival Independence 37-14 and a fight broke out postgame.

This incident at the end of Monday's Rocky River-Independence High football game ended up with both teams ending their seasons early.

Both Mecklenburg County games were played the same day that a 16-year-old Butler High School student was shot and killed by another Butler student. Both Rocky River and East Mecklenburg are in close proximity to Butler and students at East, Rocky River and Independence know students at Butler. It is likely emotions were running high.

And both CMS football games Monday were postponed from Friday due to heavy rains in the area. While many schools moved games up to the previous Thursday, CMS schools took no action, waiting until Friday to move games to Monday.