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FHSAA looks into fight after Palmetto-East Lake game

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Mon. November 18, 2013 | Bob Putnam | Email

The Florida High School Athletic Association is investigating a postgame altercation in which a Palmetto High coach is accused of throwing a punch at East Lake High receiver George Campbell in Friday's Class 7A region quarterfinal game.

The incident happened when East Lake defenders made a tackle near Palmetto’s sideline on the final play of regulation. Campbell, a five-star recruit who has already committed to Michigan, was hit in the face and has a cut on the inside of his mouth, according to his uncle, Ahmad Jackson.

Jackson said he wants to file charges against the coach. It was unclear if a head coach or assistant was being accused of throwing the punch.

A scrum ensued after the initial punch with players from both sides having to be separated.  East Lake won 13-12.

Clearwater football coach Donnie Abraham, whose son Devin is a starting defensive back for East Lake, said  he was on the sideline when the fight broke out. He said he saw Devin, a USF commit, getting hit by Palmetto players while he was trying to break up the fighting.

"It was a mess," Donnie Abraham said.  

Melanie Marquez Parra, a school district spokeswoman, said East Lake administrators are reviewing the incident with the school's resource officer.  She was unsure if East Lake officials had contacted administrators from Palmetto.

East Lake parents sent emails  to FHSAA officials and to Palmetto administrators expressing concern about the incident.

Palmetto athletic director Kenneth Ansbro told the Bradenton Herald he didn't see a Palmetto coach hit an East Lake player.

Justin Harrison, an executive director with the FHSAA who supervises officials and the unsportsmanlike conduct of players and coaches, said in an email that he has not received game film, but will ask administrators from both schools to submit a report of the allegations.

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