There will be a specific, more in-depth safety plan for this Friday’s Hancock Central at Warren County football game to ensure there is no chance of an incident similar to the one that happened after the 2011 game.
The two teams had a postgame brawl after the Oct. 14 game last year in Sparta, and steps are being taken to make sure nothing happens this year at Warrenton, even though both schools don’t expect any problems.
The separation of fans is a key component of the safety plan. Hancock Central supporters will get in by buying red tickets while Warren County fans will buy green ones. Hancock Central fans will be told to enter at only the visitors’ gate, which will accept only those red tickets. At the same time, the home side gate will admit only those with green tickets. Once a fan leaves the game, he or she can’t return.
Fans also can’t go from one side to the other. To help with this, a portable concession stand and portable restrooms will be brought in for the visitors.
As for the teams, Hancock Central is expected to arrive already in uniform. Four police officers will be with the team at all times, including during the game. The officers will accompany the players on the field after the game, escort the team to its buses after the game and follow the team to the Warren County line to make sure it travels safely as part of their responsibilities. Four other officers will be with Warren County all night. Their duties are similar to the jobs the other four have, and these officers will escort the Warren County team to the locker room.
These precautions are in response to the brawl. Each team blamed the other for starting the brawl, during which Warren County head coach David Daniel was hit. In the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s report, a Hancock Central player admitted to hitting Daniel in the face, but not with a helmet. Daniel has denied a claim in the report that he hit first.
The coach retired on Aug. 22 for health reasons because of the injuries received from getting hit, but he said he does miss working with and helping the players.
Daniel’s doctor doesn’t want him to attend the games for health reasons, so Daniel won’t be at Friday’s contest. He also has been told to not listen to the game on the radio, as that would also make his blood pressure go up.
But the two teams will play Friday.
“We’re not anticipating any problems. But there’s always that one fool that wants to create a scene and make one of the teams look bad,” Warren County Schools Superintendent Carole Jean Carey said about having the security plan.