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Players injure cheerleaders during charge

Published Dec. 3, 2001|Updated Sep. 10, 2005

About 20 football players charged the field after a state semifinal football game here, knocking over about 30 cheerleaders and injuring at least six of them, officials said.

The Madison County High School team beat South Sumter High School, 41-7, in the Friday night game. Just after the match ended, witnesses said the Madison County players plowed through the cheerleaders as some of the players began ripping up South Sumter banners and signs.

"They kept coming, knocking girls down," said Peggy Wood, South Sumter cheerleader sponsor. "My girls were hysterical."

Two cheerleaders were taken to a local hospital and later released. One of them suffered a mild concussion.

Cheerleader Rebecca Raciapa, who was bruised in the face and jaw, said a player hit her in the face with a helmet.

"We were finishing up when one of their players came up to me and said "We just kicked your (butts) and we want your signs,' " said Raciapa.

Madison County coach Randy McPherson apologized for his team's behavior and said: "I'm embarrassed."

A videotape of the game was to be sent to the Florida High School Activities Association. It shows more than 20 players involved in the incident, said Sumter County School Superintendent Richard Shirley.

It also was not clear whether charges were to be filed against any of the players. Officials with the Madison County Sheriff's Office would not comment on the incident when reached by phone Sunday.

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