Niagara Gazette

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September 3, 2013

Postgame brawl leaves high school coach bloodied (VIDEO)

JASPER, Ala. — When two rival Alabama high school football teams squared off Friday night, the hardest hits were landed by the coaches.

A postgame brawl left one assistant coach bloodied and bruised, and another coach on administrative leave.

The visiting Cullman High School staged a come-from-behind 13-10 victory over Walker High School on Friday. As the teams began leaving the field, Cullman defensive coordinator Matt Hopper approached Walker head coach John Holladay.

The two appeared to shout at each other, and then Holladay punched Hopper, according to video of the scrum. Players, coaches and law enforcement officials swarmed the pair in an attempt to break up the fight, and Hopper emerged with a torn shirt and visibly bruised and bloodied face.

Holladay has been placed on administrative leave, according to the Daily Mountain Eagle in Jasper, Ala. Cullman school board officials said they have no plans to discipline coaches or players for the brawl.

Suzanne Harbin, president of the Cullman Board of Education, said Superintendent Doreen Griffeth was at Friday’s game and witnessed the fight.

“I talked to her and I understand there is no need to reprimand our coaches and players, that they acted with class and dignity during the situation,” Harbin said.

Harbin said Hopper received medical attention after the fight but was home and well later Friday night.

The fight was the latest in several years of bad blood between the rival programs. Last season when the two teams met in the playoffs, a near-brawl late in the fourth quarter led to Cullman avoiding the postgame midfield meeting and sprinting straight to the locker room. 

Details for this story were reported by The Cullman (Ala.) Times.

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