A seemingly routine 7-on-7 football game between Woodlawn High and Plaquemine High turned into a brawl Wednesday at Parkview Baptist High School.
Observers said the game, in which players do not wear pads, was unusually physical and tension built during the 20 minutes before the brawl. Things got out of hand on an incomplete pass when an unidentified Woodlawn defensive back and an unidentified Plaquemine wide receiver collided and exchanged words.
Video shot by WAFB showed the altercation that ensued in which numerous players from both teams joined in, many throwing punches.
The voluntary workouts do not include officials and coaches from both teams eventually restored order. The game did not resume and both schools returned to their respective campuses.
“I’m not happy at all that it happened,” Plaquemine coach Bob Howell said. “Our players totally realize that that is not acceptable in the game of football.
“This was supposed to be a player development day, and we didn’t have enough player development today. We’re going to try and get something positive out of this. We have to learn how to handle our emotions.”
Woodlawn coach Don Jones was out of town on vacation and learned of the fracas when one of his assistants telephoned him.
“I’m really sorry about what happened,” Jones said. “It’s an embarrassment to our program. My coaches corrected our kids.”
Jones said he has canceled his team’s final 7-on-7 games scheduled for next Wednesday. Howell said his team will finish its games next Wednesday.
Teams throughout the area have been getting together for four-team round-robin games during the summer.
This was the first time Woodlawn, which belongs to District 4-5A, and Plaquemine, which belongs to District 6-4A, had met.
“If this had been a real football game, a whole bunch of kids would have been ejected,” Howell said.
“We were very, very fortunate this wasn’t in a real football game sanctioned by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association.”
Howell said he had already meted out some disciplinary action. “When we got back to Plaquemine High School,” he said, “our day wasn’t over.”
Jones said he would review the video of the incident when he returns to work Monday and decide what disciplinary action to take. He said he had spoken with Ken Jenkins, athletics director for the East Baton Rouge Parish school system, and both schools will be submitting reports on the event to him.
Howell and Jones are good friends who coached together for a few seasons at Louisiana-Lafayette in the 1990s. Both said they have the utmost respect for the other and their programs.