Four starting players have been dismissed from the Central High School football team following an altercation after last Thursday's home home against Tyner.
Moments after the game, an argument escalated near the parking lot, but no punches were thrown, according to Central officials. Before it turned into a fight, the four Purple Pounders and several students from Tyner and Brainerd were separated by Central administrators and a security officer.
"There were some kids from other schools trying to cause trouble, and rather than being smart and letting adults handle the situation, our kids decided they would get involved," Central principal Finley King said. "I have no tolerance for kid drama. My job is to make Central a safe school regardless of the outcome of a football game. That's my number one priority.
"It certainly would have escalated into a fight if we hadn't stepped in, so I wanted to make sure we take a hard stand against that type thing."
King said the student-athletes, none of whom are seniors, will be suspended from school for an undetermined number of days. He said the suspension length will be decided once he has met with each boy's parents.
King said coach John Allen made the decision to dismiss the players from the team.
"It was an easy decision," Allen said. "Things like that have to be cleaned up before they escalate any further. We felt like this was the right action to take in order to make a statement to the rest of the team that we won't tolerate that kind of thing.
"We're trying to change the culture and mentality at Central. We're trying to build positive young men, and that means we can't allow things like what happened to go on."
Central hosts Brainerd this Friday and has two games remaining after that in the regular season.