The Georgia High School Association is investigating a “shoving match” after Friday’s football scrimmage between Fitzgerald and defending Class A champion Wilcox County.
“As I understand it, it was basically a huge shoving match that involved both teams, people out of the stands and those kinds of things,” GHSA executive director Ralph Swearngin told the AJC on Monday evening.
“It was a post-game situation, and several people have suggested that it wasn’t as bad as all the bad rumors we’ve heard about it. We’re going to wait until we get the written reports from both schools before we sort it all out.”
Swearngin said he expects reports by Wednesday, and says it is unlikely that any possible penalties would involve suspensions — unless it was proven that a player or coach tried to intentionally harm someone else.
“There would be no sit-out penalties because it was a practice game or scrimmage, and not an actual game,” Swearngin said. “So we would have to look and see if there were any violations where the schools would be fined. It’s way too early to see what penalties would be in place because I don’t know what went on.”
Swearngin said the investigation would be completely based on written reports. “As far as we know, there was no film of the whole situation.”
Another contributing factor to the incident, Swearngin suggested, is that the scrimmage was a “rivalry” between two schools located 22 miles apart that have had enjoyed lots of success in recent years.
Last season, Fitzgerald coach Robby Pruitt led the Purple Hurricanes to a 13-1 record, with the only loss in the Class AA semifinals, the eventual champ Buford. Meanwhile, Wilcox County, under coach Mark Ledford, was 13-2 and won the Class A championship. The Patriots are the favorites to repeat as champs, led by All-State quarterback Nick Marshall, who has committed to UGA.