MANCHESTER — Four Central High School students were suspended Friday for their actions during a brawl that took place at the Thanksgiving morning Turkey Bowl Game, while the Trinity High School principal said no discipline was levied at his school.
The Central students, two juniors and two seniors, started serving a five-day suspension on Monday, three of them told the New Hampshire Union Leader Tuesday. The newspaper is withholding their names.
Central Principal Ronald Mailhot would not confirm that students had been suspended, but he said the school took "measures that were necessary." He said he now wants to meet with his Trinity counterpart to discuss what Central feels happened during the game.
"We don't consider the case closed," Mailhot said. "It's not all Central to blame here."
But at Trinity, Principal Denis Mailloux said he's reviewed a video that includes the brawl and saw nothing that would cause him to suspend Trinity students or discipline coach Steve Burns or any assistant coaches.
"We're leaving it in the past at this point," Mailloux said.
The brawl can be seen via a Youtube search for NH Sports Page football Central vs Trinity Turkey Bowl highlights. (LINK)
The brawl happened during the Turkey Bowl, a Manchester Thanksgiving tradition that pits the top two city high school football teams against each other. Trinity was enjoying a lopsided score in the third quarter when a Central High player made a delayed hit on a Trinity player, according to the video.
Off balance, that Trinity player toppled a referee and other Central players. An adult on the Trinity sideline is seen grabbing a Central player; the Central player pushes the Trinity adult away, and confrontations begin.
Another Central player, who is 17, said the Trinity adult was uttering profanities and taunting him.
"It's not right for a grown man to be in a minor's face," said the player, who said he was suspended for pushing a Trinity coach.
The film shows players from both teams pushing, shoving and punching. Trinity adults also appear to be grabbing players from both teams.
"I don't know how none of their players are not getting suspended," said the suspended Central player, who said he was hit in the chin by an adult he believes was a Trinity coach.
Meanwhile, Manchester resident Lynn Garcia said a Trinity coach grabbed her 17-year-old son and she wants to see criminal charges brought against that coach. In the beginning of the brawl, a Trinity adult is seen grabbing her son, who made made no aggressive moves and had been tripped off balance by the late hit. He pushed the man away.
"Any coach should not put their hands on my children, not matter what the circumstances," Garcia said. "If there's a brawl, the refs should get in the middle."
Trinity's Maillhoux said he'd want to know more about any assault or taunting, but only from Central authorities.