published Saturday, December 21st, 2013

TSSAA rescinds Coalfield penalty, fines South Pittsburg

KNOXVILLE — After further reviewing the Class 1A semifinal playoff football game between Coalfield and South Pittsburg high schools on Nov. 29, the TSSAA determined that Coalfield players did not leave the sideline during a brief fourth-quarter scuffle.

As a result, the TSSAA has withdrawn its original fine of $250 assessed against the school near Oak Ridge but did fine South Pittsburg $250.

"We apologize for the error, as the school that had players leave the bench was, in fact, South Pittsburg High School," TSSAA officials Gene Menees and Terry Hillier wrote in a Dec. 13 memo to Coalfield principal David Treece.

"We have changed the information in our records accordingly."

The memo stems from an incident late in South Pittsburg's 43-22 win at Coalfield. It was one of several times during the game when unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties were called, resulting in Coalfield's Brent Keener and Zach Moore and the Pirates' Kyan Mitchell being ejected.

Coalfield athletic director Shawn Basler said Friday that his school had been penalized during a similar incident in a second-round playoff victory over Lookout Valley in 2011, so coaches and administrators after that tried to teach restraint regarding leaving the sidelines.

"We're very proud that our players did what was right," he said. "I am sorry that things got out of hand on the field, but we did the right thing. We paid a heavy price a couple of years ago and made sure it did not happen again."

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