The Florida High School Athletic Association will make a final ruling about the bench-clearing altercations during last week’s Alonso-Gaither football game, but for now three Ravens players will be suspended for Friday’s regular-season finale against Armwood. Alonso could also face a $300 fine.
County athletic director Lanness Robinson reviewed the game film and met with the principals and athletic directors of both schools Tuesday morning.
While no punches were thrown and no players were ejected, several players from both teams left the bench area, which is a violation of FHSAA rule 126.96.36.199.
“It appears that several athletes from both teams left the bench area, and that is against the rules,” school district spokesperson Steve Hegarty said. “Though it is difficult to determine who some of the athletes are, we anticipate the names of several student-athletes will be sent to the FHSAA for possible discipline.”
Alonso football coach Lee Meitzler, however, said Tuesday morning that three players have been suspended for this week’s game for leaving the bench.
"The county has sent their findings to the FHSAA," Meitzler said.
The school’s athletic director, K.R. Lombardia, confirmed that Robinson recommended that three players be benched for the Armwood game, but said he was awaiting final word from the state.
“We’re pretty satisfied with the recommendations,” Lombardia said.
Lombardia would not release the disciplined players’ names. But if three players are cited for coming onto the field, the school would face a $100 fine for each one.
According to FHSAA rule 188.8.131.52, “Participation by one or more student-athletes in an altercation in the bench area, or by leaving the bench and entering the court or playing field (i.e., bench-emptying) or by leaving their designated position on the court or playing field to engage in an altercation will subject the school to a minimum $100 per student monetary penalty.”
Alonso, which clinched a playoff berth with a 33-7 win over the Cowboys, faces the undefeated Hawks Friday and will play Newsome in the region quarterfinals next week. Gaither’s season is over.
-- EDUARDO A. ENCINA (firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @EddieHometeam)