published Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Central dismisses 4 football starters

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.

about Stephen Hargis...

Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 23 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including nine in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers in the nation at the Associated ...

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IMnotsoHO said...

I am very impressed with the school and the coach. With all of the talk around cheating in area football right now, it is nice to see a school and a coach willing to emphasize character over a winning record. This school system would improve exponentially if we held administrators/teachers/coaches and kids accountable for our their behaviors more often than their athletic records.

October 12, 2011 at 2:26 p.m.
Redlegs11 said...

Well don't be too impressed. Apparently character over winning only takes place after the 3rd or 4th incident involving fighting. John Allen talks a great game, but the truth of the matter is he makes rules and only enforces them selectively. I agree with everything you say IMnotso, but having a little bit of insight into what is actually going on at Central, I just don't want anyone to be fooled about these kids getting kicked off and how Allen/King are these great disciplinarians who don't put up with kid drama. There is a gang problem at Central and several of these football players are involved and have been involved. Again, this altercation is just one of many they have been involved, but somehow it keeps getting swept under the door because the kids are good football players. Allen has made rule after rule for these kids and they all sound nice, but he selectively enforces them. This football program started the year with a lot of high hopes, but they have gotten progressively worse each game. The two words I most often hear when I talk to people I know at LFO, Bradley and Silverdale (the three previous stops for ALlen)and his name is brought up is "good riddance." I suspect the Central people will be saying the same thing if not this year then the next. Either way, they have a lot of good kids in the program and it is a shame that Allen continues to pander to the bad apples because they happen to be decent football players. Whatever you do, don't pat these guys on the back for getting rid of four football players.....they should have been gone a LONG time ago. If King wants to make kids safe, then he needs to address the gang situation at Central and start running kids out...whether they can play football or not!

October 13, 2011 at 12:05 p.m.
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