Seven New Castle High School players and coach Joe Cowart were already suspended from this Friday's game against Ambridge.
But New Castle administrators have added six more players and one assistant coach to the suspended list.
All of the suspensions are the result of a fight on the field before last Friday's game between Central Valley and host New Castle. The fight started when Central Valley came on the field shortly before the game and players were on the New Castle logo at midfield. Some New Castle's players quickly rushed onto the field and a fight started.
Game officials decided to eject Cowart and seven New Castle players, including five starters, from the game. Under PIAA and WPIAL rules, a coach or player ejected also is ineligible for the next game.
But New Castle officials reviewed tape of the incident Monday and handed down one-game suspensions of six more players and an assistant coach. The WPIAL also has decided to have a hearing Monday with coaches and administrators from both schools. The WPIAL could accept the penalties handed down by New Castle, or the league could add a few more.
"When you have the aid and benefit of videotape .... it's the eye in the sky. It's right there," said John Sarandrea, superintendent of the New Castle Area School District. "You can't deny it and you have to take ownership of it. It's important to self report.
"We're willing to take responsibility for the poor decisions by our coaches and players."
“It pains me to do all of this, but we have to do what’s right for an educational institution. It’s very, very important to send the right message to young people and our student athletes. That’s paramount. Our other goal would be to put things in place to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.”
Game officials did not eject any Central Valley players or coaches. Central Valley officials, after reviewing film, decided to suspend one player for this week's game.
"The district suspended one student-athlete for his actions after the altercation already began," said Nick Perry, superintendent of the Central Valley School District. "But we want reiterate that any statements or reports that our players came up and were jumping up and down on the logo are unjust."
Perry said a game official directed Central Valley's team to go to the center of the field because the New Castle band was still on the field and the official wanted Central Valley to stay away from the band.
"It was not a display of poor sportsmanship because we would never condone that," said Pettery. "Our team went to the center of the field as directed by the game official."
The New Castle game against Ambridge Friday is an important one in New Castle's hopes of making the WPIAL playoffs. New Castle is 2-3 in the Parkway Conference and tied for fifth place. The top five teams are guaranteed of a playoff spot. Ambridge is one game behind.
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