FHSAA to investigate postgame brawl at East Lake game

An East Lake receiver says he was punched by an opposing coach.

Published November 19 2013
Updated November 19 2013

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 receiver George Campbell in Friday's Class 7A region quarterfinal.

The incident happened when East Lake defenders made a tackle near Palmetto's sideline on the final play of regulation in the Eagles' 13-12 victory. Campbell, a five-star recruit who has 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.

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 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.