What began as a scuffle between individual players from Signal Mountain and Soddy-Daisy quickly turned into a benches-clearing brawl that included spectators Saturday afternoon.
The incident erupted near the end of the 12-team 7-on-7 passing league tournament at Signal Mountain. Immediately after the host Eagles scored to tie their scrimmage against Soddy-Daisy, one player from each team began shoving and then exchanged punches in an end zone on the side of the field that was lined with more than 20 Signal Mountain fans.
Players from both sidelines rushed in, and several skirmishes broke out. But as coaches from both teams tried to break up the fights, several fans came off the sideline and began throwing punches as well.
"Tempers flare during a game or scrimmage. That's going to happen," Soddy-Daisy coach Kevin Orr said. "The coaches can handle separating the kids, but when we saw adults getting involved and punching kids, that's when it escalated. I'm responsible for protecting every one of my players."
It took more than five minutes for the fights to be broken up and the teams sent to their separate sidelines.
While temperatures were mild early Saturday, tempers were not. There were other skirmishes that broke out during the day, including one that involved Bradley Central and Cleveland players. However, in none of the other instances did spectators become involved.
"My problem with it is that parents and fans don't have any business being on the field or standing that close to the action to begin with," Orr said. "Only the players, coaches and trainers should be on the field. Everybody else needs to be in the stands. That whole mess lessened the games we all played today, and if I find out any of our parents or fans ran across the field and got involved, we'll have a meeting and make sure it's understood that's not acceptable."
As is customary at 7-on-7 passing games, there were no referees. There also were no police or security officials.
Once order was restored, the teams continued playing, although neither reached the final.
Signal Mountain coach Bill Price said he preferred not to discuss details of the fight, saying only, "It was just a good scuffle, but I don't want to dwell on the negative."