MHSAA suspends 26 for football fight

BY BRANDON SPECK
DAILY JOURNAL

Mooreville and Tishomingo County got into a fight in Friday night’s season-opening football game. Those involved will be spectators for a while.

The Mississippi High School Activities Association handed down 26 suspensions – 17 from Mooreville, nine for Tishomingo – and probation to both schools on Tuesday afternoon.

If there is good news, the restricted probation ends at the end of the regular season and both teams are still eligible for the playoffs.

Mooreville coach Kevin Austin, whose team won 26-10, accepted the punishment. Earlier in the week, he was concerned the Troopers may not have enough to play Friday at Nettleton.

Mooreville’s roster lists 48 players, Tishomingo’s 39. Both will still play Friday.

“They were disappointed and they understand the consequences of their actions,” Austin said. “It could have very easily been everybody that came off the sideline was suspended and we wouldn’t have a chance to play at all.”

Tish County originally had 10 players suspended. Coach Lanny Jones said it was reduced after another review. Mooreville had six starters suspended on offense and five on defense. Four got two-game suspensions, including two starters.

Two of Tishomingo’s players were suspended for two games. The Braves took a hard hit from their starters, too – including their starting quarterback, two offensive linemen, two starting receivers, the starting running back, two corners and a starting defensive end.

Jones said there is still depth with the backfield, but going two ways could be an issue Friday against Alcorn Central.

He didn’t expect so many suspensions.

“I understand the message being sent (but) we thought maybe three or four at the most would be our number, considering the circumstance,” Jones said. “We really took a hard blow.”

Extensive review
MHSAA associate director Ricky Neaves said the results came after extensive review. He said players leaving the bench for the field results in one game, two from being in a fight. Neaves said the film confirmed spectators came onto the field as well.

Three players ejected Friday – two from Mooreville – got two games. An ejected Tishomingo assistant will be fined and possibly suspended.

Austin said there won’t be any internal suspensions, but a lot of running. Jones was unsure Tuesday evening if they would levy any further punishment.

“We’ve talked about it here for a couple of days. Everybody here is tired of talking about it,” Austin said. “We’re trying to move on to something positive.”

brandon.speck@journalinc.com