SUNBURY - After Monday’s wild bench-clearing brawl that led to three players being ejected from the Shikellamy-Selinsgrove football game, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association sent a message.
“We don’t stand for it,” said Melissa Mertz, a PIAA spokeswoman. “They will be suspended.”
The unidentified players will have to sit out one game. They also will not be allowed to practice with their teams.
Mertz said she was unaware of the events that took place at the Harold L. Bolig Memorial Field in Selinsgrove on Monday, but it is the responsibility of the high school principals from both schools to report infractions as quickly as possible.
“They report it, and we act on it,” she said. “The same goes for coaches.”
Shikellamy High School Principal Mick Hubicki said he let the decision up to the coaches.
“The athletic director and coach reported it to the PIAA,” he said. “This was something I felt the coaching staff could handle.”
The Monday night game took a turn for the worse when the two teams got into an melee on the field after a 67-yard touchdown run by a Selinsgrove player was called back because of a holding penalty. Selinsgrove won the game 37-0.
Two Selinsgrove players and one from Shikellamy were ejected and neither Selinsgrove head coach Dave Hess nor Shikellamy head coach Todd Tilford was sure what sparked the fight, but both were upset by it.
“I didn’t see the tape of what happened,” Hess said Wednesday. “I’m not sure what happened here, but I spoke with Todd after it happened, and we both apologized for the actions on the field.”
Tilford said he also didn’t review any footage, but he did get a report from his players.
“From what I understand, words were said between players from both sides, and it all happened fast,” Tilford said. “I saw two of them wrestling, and the next thing I knew both benches were out.”
Selinsgrove Superintendent Chad Cohrs said he wasn’t taking the incident lightly.
“We are investigating from our perspective and talking with coaches,” he said. “We are looking into if school suspensions may take place.”
Cohrs said Selinsgrove administrators plan on speaking with Shikellamy officials after they complete the investigation.
The reason the game was played Monday was because of a Friday automobile accident that injured three Shikellamy students and claimed the life of a fourth student in the vehicle, Travis Tillett. The accident led school officials to postpone the game.