High School Sports

Football seasons end for two Wilson County teams after a postgame fight

File photo: Ridge View (SC) Blazers head coach Perry Parks speaks with referees during an unrelated 2017 game between South Pointe High School and Ridge View High School.
File photo: Ridge View (SC) Blazers head coach Perry Parks speaks with referees during an unrelated 2017 game between South Pointe High School and Ridge View High School. jblake@thestate.com

The football season came to an early end for a pair of schools in Wilson County after a postgame fight on Thursday.

At the conclusion of the contest between Wilson Fike and Wilson Hunt, a fight broke out as players shook hands on the field. Deputies and administrators from both sides attempted to break up the fight, and eventually deputies used pepper spray, according to a statement from Wilson County Schools.

School officials decided on Monday that both teams would forfeit their remaining games. Wilson County Schools posted a statement on its website Monday, signed by Superintendent Lane B. Mills; County Athletic Director Jimmy Tillman; both principals, Randy St. Clair at Fike and Eddie Doll from Hunt; both athletic directors, Tom Nelson at Fike and Jon Smith at Hunt; and both head coaches, Nelson and Keith Byrum.

The second paragraph of the release addresses the fight.

“The expectation of Wilson County Schools and the Wilson County Board of Education is that teams will play their hardest and exhibit excellent sportsmanship at all times, which means they play fair, respect the opponent and exhibit graciousness in winning or losing. Unfortunately, an opportunity to model sportsmanship to our community was missed on November 1 after the Fike High School and Hunt High School football game. While shaking hands at the conclusion of the game, a fight broke out between a few of the players on both teams. When coaches, administrators and law enforcement could not subdue the players, deputies with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office used pepper spray to end the altercation.”

The statement confirms that the call to forfeit the season for both schools was a “unified decision.” Both teams were in contention for the NCHSAA playoffs.

The school board notified the NCHSAA about the incident and will have to pay a $1,000 fine.

The release also addresses law enforcement having to intervene, stating “Given the magnitude of both the altercation and the measure law enforcement had to take to control the situation, there was no other option.”

Last week four teams from the Charlotte area - East Mecklenburg, Hickory Ridge, Independence, Rocky River - were banned from the postseason for fights.

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