18 high school football players suspended for brawl

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It has been little more than a week since an on-field brawl ended the Baker-Parkview Baptist game in the third quarter.  Tuesday, a conduct committee decided to suspend 18 players for their role in the fight.  That's 11 players from Baker, 7 players from Parkview.

The chaos that erupted on Parkview's field is what some Baker staff say was from tension that built during the game.  Baker Coach Robert Raines says the majority of the penalties called during the contest were against his players, some he felt were unfair.

By the third quarter, Baker had yet to score.  Then what they thought was a touchdown was ruled a touchback.  Parkview got the ball back.  Officials say there was a late hit on the quarterback and in the words of the head referee, "I saw a flag fly and the melee broke out."

"42 punched him and then 34 punched him.  I bent down to help my guys up and everybody was right here already," said Parkview Head Coach Kenny Guillot.

Baker Principal Traci Morgan says three of her student-athletes wrote testimonies they were taunted with racial slurs on the field.  None of the referees say they heard any slurs.  But just prior to the fight, a Baker player and the Coach Raines were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Once things cooled down, Raines says one official asked him if the Buffalos were ready to play. But then suddenly the game was called and the stadium lights turned off.

"I just couldn't in good conscious guarantee anybody's safety.  So I said, 'Give me a football.'  I gave the end of game signal to both sides and we left," said Al Toups, the head referee.

Baker's principal says the player suspensions are fair, Parkview Principal Melanie Ezell says she's surprised.

"Felt like it was not initiated on our side.  That it didn't take place on our side," she said.  "Our homecoming is this Friday and we are undefeated....now our coaches are deciding what to do."

Both schools have been placed on probation, fined $1,000 and the head coaches must complete a sportsmanlike conduct course.

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