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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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shotyme95
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shotyme95 10/17/11 - 10:51 pm
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I'm from Warren County and

I'm from Warren County and know first hand the atmosphere that surrounds the rivalry between the two schools. There has always been bad blood between us as far as I can remember, but now it has been witnessed on a much larger scale. They're sore losers who lost to a better team and had to resort the cowards way out of attacking someone from behind. The police dept. should be ashamed of themselves for letting this tragedy unfold but then that doesn't surprise me at all. The dislike for Warren County goes far beyond the school rivalry...it even happens when the recreation teams play and they're just little kids. Charges should be brought against whoever was involved in the attack as well as against the police dept. for allowing it to happen in the first place...especially for only spraying the kids from Warren County.

Jammer1453
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Jammer1453 10/17/11 - 10:52 pm
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When I was a player back in

When I was a player back in the 80's..this kind of none sence didnt go on,win or lose we told the other team good luck in the region and shook hands like young men..I think Hancock County shouldnt play another game this season..and about the Police Dept..why isnt anyone arrested,a coach is have surgery to his face where one of Hancock County player hit him with a helmet,not before he tried to take out a Warren County player with that same helmet..WOW..really..you need more proof..really..you have an eye witness and you still need proof..all I can say HCPD to you is..DO YOUR JOB..AND DO THE RIGHT THING..

GirlNextDoor
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GirlNextDoor 10/17/11 - 10:55 pm
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It was not a swarm on top of

It was not a swarm on top of the Warren players. As both teams simultaneously approached the field house there was pushing, shoving & a lot of lip from both sides. Coach Daniels felt compelled to come to the aide of his players and as he witnessed one of his team players being shoved, Coach Daniels grabbed a helmet, threw it & struck the Hancock player. Then it was on!!!!!

Vito45
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Vito45 10/17/11 - 11:07 pm
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RIIGGGHHTTTTT!!! GND, and the

RIIGGGHHTTTTT!!! GND, and the County School SUPERINTENDENT lied......

spokenreasons
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spokenreasons 10/18/11 - 12:24 am
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Ok...I have read all of the

Ok...I have read all of the comments on here and I'm amazed that nobody mentioned what I am about to say now. According to the article and to many posts on here the players were coming off of the field and clashed before going into the locker rooms. There where many witnesses to the offense according to the article right? I find it amazing that not one player, not one coach and not one of these so called witnesses got the number of the player that cracked the coach in the face. Amazing!

Chad
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Chad 10/18/11 - 06:31 am
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Georgia Code - Crimes and

Georgia Code - Crimes and Offenses - Title 16, Section 16-5-20 Sub section F. "Any person who commits the offense of simple assault against an employee of a public school system of this state while such employee is engaged in official duties or on school property shall, upon conviction of such offense, be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature". That school should loose their football program for at least the next 4 years. At least that way any student that was on the team has no chance of getting into collage on a football schoolership. If the Coaches or thier teammates cannot controll their trouble makers then they should not be allowed to play. If you do the Adult Crime they do the Adult time

Chillen
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Chillen 10/18/11 - 07:36 am
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This was clearly a racially

This was clearly a racially motivated attack. Where the heck is the Department of Justice? Oh never mind, the wrong race was attacked.

No story here.....

KNECKBONE
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KNECKBONE 10/18/11 - 08:08 am
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THEY SCORED 2 POINTS.DON'T

THEY SCORED 2 POINTS.DON'T MAKE THEM STOP PLAYING .THATS PUNISHMENT THERE .HA HA .EVERY TEAM NOW SHOULD SCORE 100 POINTS AGAINST THEM.FROM NOW ON HANCOCK CENTRAL PLAYERS PLAY WITHOUT ANY HELMETS .

ProudAFL
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ProudAFL 10/18/11 - 10:45 am
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@ Qeincolo - are you from

@ Qeincolo - are you from Colorada? Ever heard of a little incident at Columbine? One bad apple doesn't spoil the bunch. There are attacks, murders, rapes, etc. in every State every day. There is a child missing in Kansas City - did someone from Georgia take her?

geincolo
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geincolo 10/18/11 - 10:19 am
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Class. Nothing but class.

Class. Nothing but class. Meets all expectations.

eagle
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eagle 10/18/11 - 03:09 pm
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Way past time for charges to
Unpublished

Way past time for charges to be filed against someone. Get the GBI in there. Obviously the Hancock County Sheriffs Dept are incapable of doing their job properly.

Riverman1
94356
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Riverman1 10/18/11 - 03:52 pm
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Shoot, y'all should have seen

Shoot, y'all should have seen it when Notre Dame came to Clemson back in '79. They thought the town was a normal town and they could just drive their buses through unescorted. They made it to the second stop light before the crowd converged on the buses. They dang near turned them over. After Clemson won the game, Notre Dame said they would never come back to Clemson. I hope Notre Dame does join the ACC and learns what Southern football is like.

Riverman1
94356
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Riverman1 10/18/11 - 03:57 pm
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Sparta is world famous. Their

Sparta is world famous. Their courthouse has been used in movies. Their sheriff is a powerful man in that town. But about this fight, I've heard enough to know it all hinges on who started the fight. I've heard a worrisome statement that they thought they had to fight their way out and so on. Someone up above says the coach first threw a helmet at the player. I don't know about any of that, but I'll wait and see what happens. I don't blame Hancock County for not saying anything.

Cassandra Harris
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Cassandra Harris 10/18/11 - 04:14 pm
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River - your post is what

River - your post is what I've been saying all along. People are angry that the boy (who as far as I've read has still not been identified) has not been arrested. The police I'm sure don't want to arrest anyone until they've sorted out exactly who should be arrested and on what severity of charges.

I see a very libelous post and its responses has been removed. Good to see that the comment admins are on the job.

Riverman1
94356
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Riverman1 10/18/11 - 04:36 pm
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Well, I'm just being a

Well, I'm just being a realist about high school football related fights. I'll tell you one more tidbit. The Sheriff(s), DA and Judges of Hancock County are very, very close and will act in concert. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but it is a fact.

shoutout
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shoutout 10/18/11 - 04:48 pm
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Remaining games on Hancock

Remaining games on Hancock Central's schedule should be forfeited. Charges should be filed. What's the problem in deciding what to do? "Thuggism" and "Hoodlum-ism" cannot be tolerated in any part of any public school in the country!

Riverman1
94356
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Riverman1 10/18/11 - 04:50 pm
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The Ocmulgee Judicial

The Ocmulgee Judicial District is close knit. No one will mess with that sheriff.

Jammer1453
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Jammer1453 10/18/11 - 06:31 pm
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@Cassandra and

@Cassandra and Riverman1...listen..you two seems like two intelligent people..but the law states..that their names cant be use bc they are minors..so unless they are charge with a crime their name CAN NOT be used,not even their jersey numbers.I pretty sure their names and jersey number have been given to law enforcement but under law they cant release their names to the press or public..

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