I’m guessing many (some/most?) of you have heard about the shoving match that went on after the Wilcox-Fitzgerald scrimmage last Friday. The AJC did a piece on it, but it was pretty broad.
I’ll recap what happened quickly, then talk about possible outcomes, specifically concerning Marshall.
Fitzgerald, a powerhouse AA school, played Wilcox, an up-and-coming powerhouse in A in a scrimmage. The two communities of Rochelle and Fitzgerald are only a few miles apart and there is a large sense of rivalry between the two schools, even though they don’t play each other every year.
They played what was a pretty close game up until the end. With just a few seconds left in the third quarter (JV was to play the 4th alone), Fitzgerald was up by a couple of scores and decided to throw a long bomb. They scored, essentially running up the score in a scrimmage. It was really no big deal at that point, but it is frustrating to the opposing team when that is done, especially in a scrimmage. A point to note here is that Wilcox has to play its players on both sides of the ball the entire game, and Fitz only has one or two guys who go both ways. Wilcox already had some JV guys in at this point. But I digress.
After the game while shaking hands, Wilcox coach said something to the effect of “Thanks for running up the score”, to which HC Pruitt from Fitzgerald replied with some language I’m not going to repeat. Of course tempers flared, guys went to swinging, and things got ugly. There’s actually a funny part here; one of the bozo officials threw a flag during the mess. I guess he thought that would stop the melee.
That’s a quick recap of what went down. You can hear varying stories, and what I gave you is not very detailed (for a reason), but that’s essentially what caused the brawl.
Now, it is my understanding that the GHSA has reviewed the tape and is taking no further action since it was not a GHSA sanctioned event. However, the individual schools involved have some tough decisions to make. There are many things that have to be considered, such as did any players hit coaches and does that constitute as a student hitting a teacher, are any actions taken towards coaches that were using foul language, and what type of punishment is going to be levied for fighting on school property?
I can say this, officials within both school systems are not happy. They also face tough decisions, because both of these teams are poised to contend for State Championships in their classifications. Furthermore, they both have kids who are going to play ball at the next level in 2011.
So, as far as UGA is concerned, what is going to happen with Nick Marshall? Who knows at this point? It’s my understanding that it is solely in the schools hands right now. Maybe nothing. Maybe a multi-game suspension. It’s not clear. It could be worse, but I hope not. I hope that the situation resolves itself and it can be handled internally in both systems. I also hope that for the coaches involved that nothing major happens, because both coaches are really good guys.
More on Marshall: He really is a good kid. Folks from Wilcox County will tell you that he’s not a trouble maker. However, as we can all relate to, some of his influences have short tempers, and in a situation like this emotions can escalate. I can relate back many years ago when I played HS ball. I was not a great football player by any means, but I know that when things got heated on the field, you get that “teammate first” mentality. It’s hard to show maturity at 17 years old, especially when you have a rivalry and you feed off the emotions of other players and the coaches. I really don’t fault any of the players too much here; it never should have reached that point. The coaches have to show more responsibility.
Which leads to another point: I have a suspicion that if any disciplinary actions are taken, the coaches will be involved to some extent. This whole exchange was started by them, and the players got involved in the aftermath.
It may all blow over, who knows. I simply wanted to put some things out there that maybe helped clear up the subject as well as defend Nick Marshall a little bit. There will be negative things said about him and his involvement in the coming days, but I really feel that it is unjustified at this point. He is a good kid, and will make a great Dawg.
If and when more things come from this, I’ll attempt to clear up the jumble above.