A championship football game between out-of-state teams turned into a brawl on Alcoa High School’s field Sunday night.
Alcoa Police officers reported players, coaches and fans were being unruly during the Battle in Rocky Top 14/15U championship when they were called to the field at 8:07 p.m., but the situation appeared to calm.
As players and coaches from the Oakdale Bears of West Virginia and the Metro Wolfpack of Indiana began shaking hands at midfield after the game, a fight erupted that brought parents and fans onto the field, too.
“At the peak of the brawl there were at least 50 to 60 individuals involved on the field,” a police report states.
“There were numerous individual altercations taking place with several subjects involved in each,” the report states. “Many of these altercations went to the ground as multiple people piled on and fought with each other.”
Larry W. Brown of Fredericksburg, Va., an assistant coach for Oakdale, said in a phone interview with The Daily Times on Monday that the opposing team had been cursing at the West Virginia players throughout the game, calling them names, and Oakdale removed one of its 14 players who was upset along the sidelines.
The player’s father, who is an assistant coach, and brother also chose to leave with him, Brown said. The police report states three people had been asked to leave the premises.
Punched from behind
Brown said Oakdale won the game 8-6 in the final seconds, with a touchdown and two-point conversion. As they lined up for the post-game tradition, however, Brown said an opposing coach got in his face and someone punched Brown in the back of his head.
Brown said he was being punched and kicked, and his sweatshirt was pulled off as one of the Oakdale coaches attempted to help him up. By the end of the brawl, he was missing a shoe, too.
Blount County deputies assisted Alcoa Police in dispersing the crowd, and no arrests were made.
Yolanda L. Peete, of Indianapolis, told police her 14-year-old son had been struck twice in the stomach and once in the face by a coach from the opposing team. She said the man was yelling and cursing in the faces of players and coaches as they shook hands, leading to the fight.
Although someone told police the man was Brown, referees Dustin Langley and Ethan Carroll, both of Loudon, confirmed Brown’s statement that he was struck in the back of the head and did not strike any players, according to the police report, which noted several people were wearing similar shirts.
Brown said he’s a minister who doesn’t curse, a point his players noted amid the accusations after the game.
Other than Peete’s son, no other injuries were reported to the police. Brown said he had pulled two kids off a player who had a black eye and bruises on his face.
Alcoa officer reported that they escorted the teams off the field one at a time.
Before that, however, Brown said he returned to the opposing coach. “I went back and shook his hand and said, ‘This is not how we’re supposed to end things.’”
“It’s only right to be an example,” Brown said. “We’re teaching our kids respect.”
The annual Battle in Rocky Top has hundreds of teams playing at locations throughout the area. AHS athletic director Josh Stephens said Alcoa football boosters were running concessions Sunday night and called the police when the situation became heated.
He noted that an effort to transform a “win-at-all-costs” culture in sports is beginning in Tennessee.
The InSideOut Initiative is partnering with organizations including the Tennessee Titans, NFL Foundation, Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents, Tennessee Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, Tennessee School Board Association and Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association.