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Warren County coach recovering as inquiry continues

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A postgame altercation involving two high school football teams left Warren County coach David Daniel with severe injuries and a swirl of questions surrounding the incident.

Jim Turner, assistant head coach and offensive coordinator, goes over plays with Warren County High School players. He is filling in for head coach David Daniel, who had surgery after being hit in a postgame altercation.   SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Jim Turner, assistant head coach and offensive coordinator, goes over plays with Warren County High School players. He is filling in for head coach David Daniel, who had surgery after being hit in a postgame altercation.

Warren County Schools Superintendent Carole Jean Carey said Daniel had surgery after bones in his face were “crushed” after the Screaming Devils’ 21-2 victory Friday night at Hancock Central in Sparta, Ga. Assistant coach Jim Turner will be the acting head coach while Daniel is out.

Daniel’s wife, Rochelle, said Monday the injuries are on the right side of Daniel’s face, adding she was told there is no brain damage. But she said there are severe fractures around his eye, cheek and nose, which required major reconstructive surgery.

“We’re just taking it one day at a time,” she said. “I don’t want to blame anybody. It’s one of those things where everybody wants to know what’s going on, what’s happened.”

A request by Carey to have the Georgia Bureau of Investigation look into the matter was denied by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department.

“They wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say,” Carey said of the sheriff’s department.

Hancock County Sheriff Tomlyn Primus, when reached at home Monday night, refused to say whether his office was investigating. Other media sources have reported that the sheriff’s department is investigating.

Tom Davis, the special agent in charge at the GBI’s Milledgeville office, said the agency can get involved only if a request comes from the district attorney, sheriff of the county, chief of police or Superior Court judge with area jurisdiction. Davis said the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department has a right to work without requesting GBI involvement.

Carey said she might call the district attorney – who does have jurisdiction – today.

The incident occurred, Carey said, as she was walking with Daniel after the game. After the Screaming Devils reached their locked locker room, they were “caught off guard,” she said.

Carey said Daniel saw a Hancock Central player hit a Warren County player from behind with a helmet. According to Carey, Daniel stepped in and said something to the effect of “What are you doing?” The Hancock Central player, who has not been identified, then struck Daniel with a helmet.

Daniel was released from the Medical College of Georgia Hospital on Sunday night but will go back as doctors decide what’s next.

“He wants to come back to school and focus on (this Friday’s) game right now,” Carey said. “But he’s got to take care of himself first. All of Warrenton is just real upset.”

Ralph Swearngin, the executive director of the Georgia High School Association, said his organization has secondary involvement right now.

The GHSA has asked both schools to give accounts of what transpired, including what security measures were taken.

Swearngin, who added he’s waiting on a police report, said it will take a few days to get all the reports. Carey said Warren County has already sent its report to the GHSA.

“It’s a matter of trying to enforce our bylaws in regard to sportsmanship,” Swearngin said.

Hancock Central defensive coordinator Marleau Blount resigned in August from Warren County before serving his third season as head coach after several players practiced before completing physical examinations.

After Friday night’s game, Blount spoke with former players, students and teachers. He said he didn’t see what instigated the matter and which players might be involved.

“It was real unfortunate. I’m upset at everything,” said Blount, who is unsure what punishment will be handed out to those involved.

Carey said Daniel would have been coaching at Monday's practice if he had things his way. In fact, Warren County High School Principal Kaveous Preston half-jokingly said he looked around to make sure Daniel wasn't watching Monday's practice from somewhere in the woods.

Carey also said she spoke with Washington-Wilkes officials and said “we're all good to go” regarding Friday night's game in Warrenton. The team is 6-1, with three games left including Friday’s.

Lincoln County coach Larry Campbell, whose team defeated Hancock Central 28-15 on Sept. 30, said he hasn’t had any issues with the program through the years. He has also never heard of a coach getting struck with a helmet.

“Never in my 42 years have I ever seen anything like that happen. Nothing close to it,” Campbell said. “I don’t know everything that happened, but I know a coach shouldn’t get hit under any circumstances.”

Like Campbell, Aquinas coach Matt LeZotte said he has never had any postgame issues as a former high school and college quarterback or in three years coaching.

“It just blew my mind. We never have any problems,” said LeZotte, who said the Daniel incident was random. “We’re also not 10 miles down the road from our rival like Warren County and Hancock (Central). Also, our rivalries are competitive and not personal.”

Campbell said he believes the GHSA will probably be “extremely tough” on the program. He added he’ll take extra on-field precautions, starting with Friday’s home game against Aquinas.

“I’ve seen enough of it,” Campbell said, “that we’ll have security from now on until we get both teams off the field.”

Staff writers Chris Gay and Scott Michaux contributed to this article.

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faithson
5158
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faithson 10/17/11 - 10:55 am
0
0
Assault charges with

Assault charges with compensation for medical and employment. This type of violent deviant behavior must be punished and punished harshly.

augos
22
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augos 10/17/11 - 11:16 am
0
0
Speedy recovery

Speedy recovery

kiwiinamerica
942
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kiwiinamerica 10/17/11 - 11:21 am
0
0
I would say an
Unpublished

I would say an "unsportsmanlike conduct" penalty is in order here. That will be 15 yards, to be enforced at the kick-off, the next time these two teams meet. That'll learn 'em!

Seriously, I'm surprised this didn't turn into a riot! If I'm a football player and a member of the opposing team attacks my coach, then it's all on!! Rumble time!

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 10/17/11 - 12:00 pm
0
0
Plot, meet thicken...

Plot, meet thicken...

Sweet son
10406
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Sweet son 10/17/11 - 12:02 pm
0
0
Be assured that it ain't

Be assured that it ain't over!! There was definitely an assualt and if the law enforcement agency of jurisdiction will not do it's job someone else will!! Good luck Coach!! Hancock should be made to forfeit/not play the rest of the season by the GHSA and any players or coaches involved should be prosecuted! Rivalry with sportmansip is great but this is criminal!

kiwiinamerica
942
Points
kiwiinamerica 10/17/11 - 12:53 pm
0
0
"The Hancock County Sheriff's
Unpublished

"The Hancock County Sheriff's department, which denied Carey's request..............."

Lemme guess. The Sheriff of Hancock County is married to the younger sister of a guy who lives next door to the best friend of the Hancock defensive co-ordinator who goes hunting with a couple of the deputies in the Sheriff's department and plays golf with the father of the kid who whacked the coach.......etc, etc.

IOW, they're all good ol' boys............

Ushouldnthave
0
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Ushouldnthave 10/17/11 - 12:56 pm
0
0
If that's the way Hancock

If that's the way Hancock County is run then I'm sure their buses used to transport the "team" are probably also unsafe. Maybe roadside safety inspections are called for...say Friday when they travel to put a "whoopin'" on Wilkinson County, or the next Friday when they go to put a "beat-down" on Glascock County. Be a shame if they missed one of those.

greenapples
0
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greenapples 10/17/11 - 01:17 pm
0
0
According to peope who

According to peope who witnessed the game, once the game was over and Warren Cty was making their way to the bus, then a few Hancock Cty players "attacked" the Warren Cty team and Coach Daniels. When the remainder of the team AND cheerleaders saw thier coach being attacked they tried to run towards him to his defense. At that point, Hancock Cty Sherriff sprayed the players, cheerleaders, and at least one parent with mace/pepper spray. In my opinion this is unnecessary roughness on the part of the people that were there to protect our young people. Also, can someone please explain to me how if a student says "I will beat you up" then it is a terroristic threat and they can face severe punishment... However in this case they actually did BEAT a teacher/coach and there were no charges or arrest made. Coach Daniels faced HOURS of surgery and has a very long road ahead of him and NO ONE is being held responsible.... REALLY!?!

pattym35
0
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pattym35 10/17/11 - 01:29 pm
0
0
So what is Hancock County

So what is Hancock County Sherriff's Department hiding or should we ask who are they hiding?

Cassandra Harris
-3
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Cassandra Harris 10/17/11 - 01:35 pm
0
0
Has anyone considered that

Has anyone considered that perhaps the police are considering the full extent of the coach's injuries and taking into account the helmet and whether to charge the young man with misdemeanor or felony assault?

grandpappygreenthumb
0
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grandpappygreenthumb 10/17/11 - 01:52 pm
0
0
All I can say is, "It is

All I can say is, "It is typical". If you know what I mean.

stillamazed
1488
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stillamazed 10/17/11 - 01:58 pm
0
0
Sounds like Hancock's Team

Sounds like Hancock's Team needs to be suspended from playing for the rest of the school year. This is horrible and shows very bad sportsmanship, and lack of upbringing. Don't blame the other team because you got your butts whipped. I hope the coach has a speedy recovery. I think this should be more than a misdemeanor charge, the helmant was used as a weapon and could have easily killed someone.

Sweet son
10406
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Sweet son 10/17/11 - 03:18 pm
0
0
Cassandra: Aggravated

Cassandra: Aggravated Battery/Felony

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 10/17/11 - 03:26 pm
0
0
Sweet son - my point is just

Sweet son - my point is just because he hasn't had charges brought yet does not mean they aren't forthcoming. And what he should be charged with does not equal what he will be charged with.

trimmy
29
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trimmy 10/17/11 - 03:37 pm
0
0
This guy swung a weapon, not
Unpublished

This guy swung a weapon, not his fist. He should be in jail now, awaiting his trial. If he was not of legal age before he hit the coach, he came of age when the helmet cracked the coach's skull. We'll see if any real punishment is administered to this coward.

55 F-100
1
Points
55 F-100 10/17/11 - 04:00 pm
0
0
When they determine who the

When they determine who the little cretin was who hit the coach with his helmet, he should be charged as an adult with attempted murder.

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 10/17/11 - 04:01 pm
0
0
The player involved should be

The player involved should be expelled, permanently banned from GHSA sports, and prosecuted for the level of assault appropriate to this incident.

It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

frib
0
Points
frib 10/17/11 - 04:02 pm
0
0
Does anyone know if this is

Does anyone know if this is Coach Daniels that coached at Murphey many years ago?

Sweet son
10406
Points
Sweet son 10/17/11 - 04:04 pm
0
0
"Should be charged with" is

"Should be charged with" is an ambiguious term. The Georgia criminal code defines crimes so I am sure that charges considered will be made with the evidence from the incident.

Buckmode
22
Points
Buckmode 10/17/11 - 04:41 pm
0
0
This is all too typical of

This is all too typical of Hancock County, especially when they have played Warren County over the years. Their attitude seems to be "We can't win the game so we'll win the fight." Mark my words, they will do all they can to cover up and protect those responsible. It will be interesting to see how GHSA acts once they are allowed to do so. I hope and pray the coach has no permanent injuries.

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 10/17/11 - 04:46 pm
0
0
I don't know all the facts
Unpublished

I don't know all the facts and I was not there but after everything I'm reading this story sounds very shady. NO arrests made? at least 30 people involved, probably twice that many? The Warren County school superintendent witnessed the whole thing? Warren County locked out of the locker room? The GBI "cannot conduct an investigation." This does not sound right at all.

The headlines ought to be reading already, "GHSA Suspends Hancock Football Team" or "Thirty Hancock Players Arrested after Attack."

The current headline, "Hancock County denies request for GBI following coach attack" does not sound right at all.

Riverman1
84009
Points
Riverman1 10/17/11 - 05:25 pm
0
0
I'd like to hear more before

I'd like to hear more before placing blame. Football fights are dynamic events where blame is hard to place. Whoever swung the helmet may have an entirely different story than what some seem to believe.

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 10/17/11 - 05:37 pm
0
0
The headline SHOULD read,

The headline SHOULD read, "GBI investigating Hancock County Sheriff's Department." But it won't.

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 10/17/11 - 07:42 pm
0
0
If this thing keeps legs, a

If this thing keeps legs, a judge or some other approved authority will demand the GBI's involvement. The HCSD best come through with an impartial investigation or they WILL be investigated themselves.

justwonder
0
Points
justwonder 10/17/11 - 08:09 pm
0
0
If this had happened at one

If this had happened at one of the Money schools up north, we know, they would have had the GBI, the FBI and who knows what agency to investigate....Mr. Swearngin wake up!!

jamesnewsome
38
Points
jamesnewsome 10/17/11 - 08:24 pm
0
0
WTHO radio station in Thomson

WTHO radio station in Thomson covers all the games, and they first broke this story. Go to their FB page and read the news report. It's far more detailed than other articles or reports.

Excerpt: "EARLIER IN THE EVENING, WARREN COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL DR. KAVEOUS PRESTON AND HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER SCOTT SWANN, WHO WERE CALLING FRIDAY NIGHT’S GAME FOR WTHO-FM, WERE NOT ALLOWED IN THE PRESS BOX AT HANCOCK CENTRAL AND HAD TO SET UP ON TOP OF THE BOX. AUTHORITIES AT HANCOCK CENTRAL ALSO, WE ARE TOLD, WERE NOT COOPERATIVE TO WARREN COUNTY TEAM OFFICIALS WHEN THEY WERE PREPARING SAFETY MEASURES TO GET THE TEAM READY FOR THE END OF THE GAME."

There is far more to this incident than some kids from one school are poor losers. I hope the GHSA and GBI follow through and fully investigate this incident.

Bravo to Superintendent Carey for announcing that Warren County will not compete against Hancock County in any more athletic event the rest of this school year.

KSL
129716
Points
KSL 10/17/11 - 08:41 pm
0
0
Might need to be the rest of

Might need to be the rest of ever.

I don't know about now, but there used to be bad blood between Aiken and N. Augusta. I believe it was after my oldest son's first varsity game against NA, as the team was leaving the game, someone reported seeing a NA student with a handgun. The Aiken coaches were yelling at the players to get on the bus. One big defensive coach literally picked up my quarterback son and threw him into the bus. Kids having handguns was unheard of in those times.

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 10/17/11 - 08:47 pm
0
0
Play the rest of the season

Play the rest of the season helmetless. Problem solved.

mjoe5
4
Points
mjoe5 10/17/11 - 08:48 pm
0
0
Seriously??? They say no GBI

Seriously??? They say no GBI and the GBI says...ok. ??? I say they should have those that hit with their helmets charged for assault with a deadly weapon! Bunch of Thugs. period. If I were the coach I would file charges immediately.

david jennings
600
Points
david jennings 10/17/11 - 10:12 pm
0
0
I think I'm with

I think I'm with granpappygreenthumb

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