When it comes to high school football, you have to expect the unexpected. Whether it’s a player getting a penalty for praying in the end zone or coaches pouring syrup in their player’s mouths, there’s no telling what could happen under the Friday night lights. Unfortunately, there are some terrible things that happen, too, and one Ohio player ruined a game for everyone.
About midway through the second quarter of the game between Roger Bacon High School (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Dayton Dunbar High School (Dunbar, Ohio), a player lost his cool so much after a penalty that he decided to head-butt an official.
As it turns out, that terrible decision forced the two teams to go to their locker rooms and the game was called before halftime. Roger Bacon won 23-8. The entire incident was captured by the Roger Bacon Sports Network on Twitch TV and shared all over social media.
That is just awful and foolish and it only got worse. After the Dunbar player knocked one official backward with a head-butt using his helmet, he tore off his lid and started walking toward the referee in the white hat before his teammates and coaches, who ran in from the sideline, could restrain him.
“The penalty that made the kid mad was their 12th penalty already,” Roger Bacon coach Mike Blaut told Cincinnati.com. “They were marking off the ball, half the distance to the goal line, and that’s when he went right after the referee and head-butted him. He hit him on the right side of his head.”
One Dunbar football player’s actions ruined a perfectly fine high school football game for his teammates, the opponent, referees, coaches, friends, family, and everyone else who showed up to watch the season opener.
Sure, the Roger Bacon Spartans were dominating, including junior running back Corey Kiner running the opening kickoff back 86 yards for a touchdown, but losing does not excuse this behavior and it’s no surprise the officials ended the game right then and there in the first half.
“The Dayton Public Schools are dealing with the student who chose to behave in a manner unbecoming of DPS athletes. The Dayton Public School District extends a sincere apology to the referee involved in the incident, as well as the Roger Bacon and Dunbar athletes, referees, coaches parents and spectators who were not able to play in or watch the event.”
— Dayton Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli, via USA Today
The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) is also getting involved, via Cincinnati.com: “In the coming days, we will continue to work with Dunbar High School and Dayton Public Schools regarding this incident. This is a very serious incident and we will investigate it to the fullest extent possible. Dunbar and DPS have fully cooperated since the game ended and at this point, it appears to be an isolated incident from one student-athlete.”
Needless to say, there has to be a very good chance that the Dunbar player involved won’t see the field this season.
UPDATE (September 25): According to WKRC in Ohio, the football player was charged with felonious assault and is being held in the Montgomery County Juvenile Detention Center until his court date.
UPDATE (October 8): After being charged with felonious assault, Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. filed a motion to have the 17-year-old unidentified player be transferred to adult court, according to WOIO, noting the referee “suffered a concussion and has lingering serious health issues.”
Additionally, according to WOIO, the Ohio Senate is considering a bill that makes this incident a felonious crime.
“This incident was sickening,” Heck said. “The defendant clearly became angry with the game official and seriously assaulted him. This is way beyond unsportsmanlike conduct. This was a felonious assault and this defendant should be held accountable. Football is a contact sport, but a referee should never be in fear of being physically attacked by a player.”
According to USA Today, the teenager could face 2-8 years in prison and a fine up to $20,000 if the motion goes through.