Both schools agreed on practically all the events that took place when their spring football scrimmage ended with an altercation. The administrators and coaches for Central High and Comeaux High called it an “embarrassment.”
Now the two schools must wait 48 hours to get a penalty ruling based on the testimony heard during a 90-minute sportsmanship hearing Tuesday at the LHSAA office.
“We’re going to wait and see what happens,” Central Principal David Prescott said. “This was unfortunate because we (as adults) have to model behavior. We have to do a better job from myself all the way down the line. We’ve got to get back to healthy competition and having fun.”
The May 18 scrimmage at Central was cut short when a fight erupted after an interception by Central near the goal line. Prescott speculated that as many as 20 Central players were involved. Referee Ron Kemp of the Baton Rouge Area Football Officials Association ended the scrimmage at that point, before Central’s final offensive possession.
Prescott presented a plan of corrective action to the committee that consisted of three principals from the LHSAA’s Executive Committee — Mandeville’s Bruce Bundy, Block’s Jeffrey Odom and Simsboro’s Rusty Farrar. LHSAA assistant executive director Keith Alexander presided over the hearing.
Prescott told the committee Central will forfeit the right to play a fall scrimmage, has required all players and coaches to take the National Federation of High Schools online sportsmanship course and will require parents/players to sign a sportsmanship contract.
“We’ll learn from this,” Comeaux assistant principal Gil Douglass said. “Children are children, and they are going to make mistakes. Our main objective must be to lead and guide them in the right direction.”
Comeaux did not present a corrective plan to the committee, but Douglass said the school will meet with the football players to discuss leadership and what is expected of them. Douglass also said Comeaux will ask a football official to speak to the team, along with a youth minister.
Kemp and the two head coaches, Central’s Sid Edwards and Comeaux’s Doug Dotson, were among the witnesses to testify. Dotson, the son of the late Bill Dotson, Acadiana’s legendary football coach, is a former Central assistant who spent two years as head coach at Central.
After Central intercepted a fourth-down pass near the goal line, both sides testified that Central defensive coordinator Guy Blanchard ran to congratulate his players, threw his hat in the air and referenced a pre-game “snapchat” social media post. Blanchard, who has since resigned at Central, retrieved his hat and walked toward the Central huddle, but the altercation soon began.
Kemp said the incident lasted for more than two minutes. The lead official said he called for security. Kemp also testified that Dotson directed derogatory comments toward him after officials ended the scrimmage. Dotson refuted Kemp’s statement.
Coaches and administrators said the fact players for both teams were between the 10-yard-line and goal line likely helped ignite the altercation.