SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

September 28, 2010

Altercation at youth football game is under investigation

BEVERLY — Referees were forced to stop a youth football game at Hurd Stadium on Sunday after an altercation among players prompted coaches and parents to run onto the field.

Team and league officials are investigating the incident but would not reveal exactly what happened.

Beverly Youth Football President Hank McLaughlin described the confrontation among the players as "pushing and shoving" after the whistle and said it was quickly broken up by coaches and referees.

But McLaughlin said "some other matters" occurred that the league and teams are investigating.

"It will be resolved in an appropriate manner," he said.

The controversy took place late in the first half of a Northeast Conference Youth Football League game between seventh- and eighth-graders from Beverly and Saugus.

McLaughlin said a late-hit penalty on a kickoff touched off "pushing and shoving" among players near the Saugus sideline. Coaches ran onto the field to help the referees break up the skirmish, he said.

"It wasn't a brawl or anything like that," he said.

McLaughlin would not say whether adults were involved in the confrontation other than in a peacekeeping role.

"There were other things that happened," he said. "I can't speak to them. They are being investigated internally by Beverly and Saugus and by the (league) board of directors."

Saugus coach Vinnie Serino said his players reacted after a Beverly player made a late hit on a Saugus player and was called for a penalty. He said coaches from both teams went on the field to restore order.

Serino said parents from both sides also went onto the field.

"As far as I'm concerned, it got out of control," he said. "It just escalated. It's a kids game. It shouldn't come to this."

Serino said he told the referee he could not guarantee he could control his team after such a rough game. He said three of his players, including his son, suffered concussions while playing.

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