The NCHSAA reviewed film this week and upheld the officials’ ruling that included four Fairmont players being ejected for fighting. Que Tucker, deputy commissioner of the NCHSAA, said no changes were made after review in the game report from officials.
Fairmont first-year coach James Atkinson informed his team of the ruling after Thursday’s practice in preparation for tonight’s game against Wilmington Ashley.
“From what I understand, the playoff ban comes from the fight and the fine from players leaving the bench,” Atkinson said. “I haven’t fully read the letter, but I think that’s where it came from.”
Under NCHSAA rules, if a team has three or more players ejected from a game for fighting in the same incident, or six for any reason during a season, it is not eligible for the state playoffs. Luke Hunt, Charlton Townsend, Silas Oxendine and Naim Bellamy will serve the first of a two-game suspension tonight against the Eagles.
Atkinson says additional punishment will be handled “in-house” by the coaching staff.
“Right now, we’re just worried about getting the rest of these kids ready to play a football game,” Atkinson said. “That’s part of my job as the coach. Our goal to win conference and win-out is still there for our team.”
Robeson County Athletic Director Jason Suggs said Friday’s fight was an unfortunate ending to a competitive game.
“The rules have been in place for several years,” Suggs said. “This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of the rule and I hate that it happened, but when you break a rule, there’s punishment and Fairmont will have to live with the consequences.”
Lake View, S.C. coach Daryl King said his team was not penalized during the skirmish and has not heard from the South Carolina High School League.
When asked to comment on what started last week’s fight, King politely declined.
“I’ll leave all that up to the officials and I really have no other comment to make,” King said. “It was a hard-fought game and we were extremely lucky to get out of there with a victory. It was a game between two good teams.”