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Musket fight brings fines, probation

As the final seconds ticked off the clock in the 44th Musket Bowl meeting between Daniel Boone and David Crockett, the customary meeting between opposing teams usually meant as a show of sportsmanship, took an unexpected turn as high emotions from the contest lingered before detonating at the center of Pioneer field in Jonesborough on Thursday night.
What began as a small incident between a couple of Pioneer and Blazer athletes quickly turned into a larger scuffle as players and some fans from both schools joined in the ruckus.
Coaches, school administrators and police officers quickly took control of the situation sending Pioneer players to one side of the field and Blazer players to the other in order to extinguish tempers and avoid further confrontation after Boone’s 23-16 come-from-behind victory.
“Things escalated quickly and tempers flared,” Jonesborough resident and Musket Bowl attendee Darren Gideon said. “I wouldn’t say I was that surprised to see something like that happen. These kids battled all night and obviously weren’t ready to walk away from one another.”
Traci Henry, another Musket Bowl spectator, had a different point of view. “If they can’t control themselves after the game has finished then they don’t need to play anymore,” she said. “I think the display exhibited a lack of class from both sides and shows poorly on our communities.”
The incident did lead to the arrest of 45-year-old Jonesborough resident Edward Britt, who according to the Washington County Sherriff’s Department pushed an off-duty deputy while being led off the field. He was charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct.
Less than 24 hours following the altercation the TSSAA imposed major penalties on both programs after video of the incident appeared on local and national news outlets.
A letter was sent Friday to Boone Principal Roger Jackson and Crockett Principal Andy Hare from TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress.
In the letter, Childress expressed that after viewing footage of the altercation online and discussing the incident with school administrators several facts could be established.
The letter outlined that a fight broke out between players of both teams after the game, reports from eye witnesses from both schools stated that the other school started the fight, fans from both schools entered the field during the altercation and it mentioned the arrest of Britt.
“The bottom line is there was a brawl amongst players after a high school athletic event which is totally unacceptable,” Childress wrote.
He also noted that given the opportunity, neither the administration of David Crockett or Daniel Boone took any disciplinary action in response to the incident.
In levying the punishment for the two programs, the TSSAA announced that both would receive a three-year postseason ban and each would have to pay a total of $4,750 in fines for multiple violations.
Boone Athletics Director Danny Good was reached Monday morning for comment regarding the incident and the TSSAA’s response.
“It is an extremely unfortunate incident and nobody on either side will tolerate it,” Good said.
Good did not want to point fingers as to who started the antics and admitted players from both schools allowed their emotions to get the best of them.
“There was a lot of talk back and forth between the student athletes and when you get 16 and 17 year old kids together in that environment things like that can happen,” he said. “It is embarrassing for both schools and we are putting some different policies and procedures in place to make sure something like this doesn’t ever happen again.”
Although unable to speak openly regarding the incident due to the ongoing investigation as of Monday morning, Crockett Head Coach Jeremy Bosken echoed Good’s sentiments.
“All I can say is it is extremely upsetting that the game ended like that,” Bosken said.
Addressing the TSSAA’s allegations that school administrators refused to promptly respond to Thursday night’s events, Good was emphatic regarding both of the schools response.
“Mr. Dykes was at Crockett on Friday morning and at Boone on Friday afternoon at which time we began an investigation,” Good said. “He brought film with him from Crockett of the incident and our investigation has been ongoing since.”
Good said several of the Boone athletes involved in the scuffle were not at school on Friday and those students were being dealt with by Principal Jackson on Monday.
Good admits he was surprised by the severity of the punishment levied by the TSSAA as well as their hasty response which came less than 24 hours after the incident had occurred.
School administrators along with Washington County Director of Schools Ron Dykes will appeal the decision before the TSSAA Board of Appeals on Nov. 13 in Murfreesboro.
In a statement released on Monday afternoon Dykes said, “Both Daniel Boone and David Crockett administrations have completed their investigations having identified students involved in the incident and taken disciplinary actions.  The sanctions will be addressed through a hearing with the TSSAA appeals board.”
The Herald and Tribune reached out to the TSSAA Monday afternoon for comment regarding their decision, but could not obtain a response.