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Rock Hill-South Pointe fight is under review

Rock Hill schools officials are investigating an on-field fight among some players after the Rock Hill-South Pointe high school football game Friday night that could lead to player suspensions or even harsher penalties for the teams, school officials and the Rock Hill coach said Saturday.

Video from field-level after the game shows an altercation on the field after South Pointe defeated Rock Hill, 28-21, at District Three Stadium. The video shows coaches and others separating players from the two schools. However, the schools each have video taken from the press boxes at the top of both sides of the stadium, but neither videotape has all conclusive footage, district spokeswoman Elaine Baker said Saturday.

Principals and athletic directors from both schools met Saturday to review video and determine what happened, and if there will be recommendations for discipline, Baker said. A meeting among the athletic departments, principals and district officials is set for Monday, Baker said.

"Administrators at both schools are talking to the kids to find out exactly who was involved," Baker said.

Rock Hill High coach Joe Montgomery said his school's video of the game and aftermath shows some punches were thrown and landed. He also said a helmet was seen moving through the air toward a group of Stallions' players. That helmet can also be seen in a video taken for The Herald.

"I saw some smacking and grabbing, too," Montgomery said Saturday. "The coaches from both teams moved in quickly and restored order.

"I talked to (South Pointe coach Strait Herron), and we agreed this was not something we want to happen. Neither of us are very pleased right now."

As the school district reviews the incident, the high school league that administers sports will conduct its own, separate review, Baker said.

Each school is supposed to submit a written review of the incident and deliver copies of the videos to the S.C. High School League by Monday, Montgomery said.

The league has the authority to hand out punishment, if appropriate. Punishments could be as severe as probation for a game or more, or teams being barred from high school football playoffs at the end of the regular season.

Montgomery, the Rock Hill coach, said players involved will be disciplined.

"I don't want to see anything like this again," Montgomery said.

"I don't coach to put out fights. You can rest assured that once we hear back from the league, any players it feels should be suspended will be. Those on our team we feel should be, but not named in the reply, will also be punished."

Herron, could not be reached Saturday but said after the game he was "sick" of incidents that portray his team in a negative light.

"I'm sick of it. I told our kids I'm tired of South Pointe being seen as the thugs and dregs of Rock Hill," Herron said Friday.

Several players had to be separated in the incident.

More than a dozen Rock Hill Police Department officers hired by the Rock Hill school district were working security at the game and outside the stadium Friday night, said Lt. Brad Redfearn, spokesman for the department.

Other than helping separate players from the teams, officers inside the stadium had no involvement with the on-field incident, Redfearn said, and needed to take no further action.

"The coaches were dealing with the incident on the field," Redfearn said.

There were no fights or altercations outside the stadium after the game, Redfearn said, and officers did what they normally do after games: Help disperse the crowd from the stadium and adjacent areas and assist with traffic out of parking lots and onto city streets.

There were no arrests inside or outside the stadium, Redfearn said. Police did disperse groups after the game, including at a nearby McDonald's restaurant on Cherry Road, but Redfearn said the department has a contract with the restaurant to control crowds after games, and Friday's action was the same as other nights after games.

The altercation marred what had been an entertaining game between a pair of 3-0 squads.

Rock Hill quarterback Corey Wessinger was taken off the field by stretcher in the fourth quarter after a hard hit, and taken to Piedmont Medical Center.

Wessinger had a concussion and was released from the hospital Saturday, according to his mother, June Wessinger.

Video of fight

Video of Wessinger's hit