A massive brawl that started with football players bled out into the stands, with multiple injuries and arrests.
High school football has been a celebratory ritual in small and large towns alike for decades. Famous films like Varsity Blues and Friday Night Lights depict just how big that phenomenon can get. But today, two Maryland high school football teams are garnering national attention not necessarily because of their devotion to the popular American pastime, but instead because of a massive brawl that broke out at a game.
Two high school football teams had their season temporarily suspended within the Montgomery County Public School district. The Gaithersburg Trojans faced the Northwest Jaguars last Friday night. But during the third quarter, players on the field broke into a fight, and the quarrel bled into the stadium.
Officials halted play and a decision was made to cancel the remainder of the game. Northwest at the time was up 14-0, so football officials declared them the winner. The decision appeared not to sit well with angry attendees, who in turn began brawling in the stands and the nearby parking lot.
Several people sustained wounds as unruly attendees were leaving the football game. One of the injured was a police officer that was responding. Several people were arrested, including four students and one adult, according to reports from NBC Washington.
To make the situation seem worse when the district responded to the report, they made it sound as if even school staffers were involved in the football brawl. Now, the district is launching an investigation into what happened that night. As a consequence, they vowed to increase security measures at all sporting events going forward.
It is unknown how long football will be suspended for Maryland high schools. Likewise, it is unknown whether it may have been a simple football rivalry that led to the all-out brawl, or something more sinister. High school football players in Pennsylvania didn’t make off as well after a violent account weeks ago.
At a high school in the Middletown Area School district, football was canceled for the remainder of the season. The team was found guilty of extreme hazing against new coming members in cell phone footage obtained by authorities. The video footage was described as being atrocious, and the coach was even alleged to be involved.
A week later in Texas – the state notorious for its passion for high school football –a district was home to another incident that suspended 21 players. This act also involved team hazing, but instead of canceling the season, officials decided to only discipline teammates known to be involved. The behavior sent one teammate to the hospital.
As a growing trend, school events are being reported as turning violent at alarming rates. Violence doesn’t just happen inside schools, but more so outside of normal hours during large events. And as unrest and gun violence continues to plague America, football events are the perfect target for brawls like this.
Football and many other youth sports are believed to be growing more competitive each year. While it is unknown whether or not this is what caused the fights, it is an issue that schools must address. The fate of both Maryland teams now lies in the hands of the district, and newfound information leading up to the brawl may factor in when officials decide how long the season will be suspended.