Twenty football players -- half from Middleburg High School and half from Leon County High School -- were suspended from the game after state officials investigated a brawl on the field last Friday night. Several Clay County parents who feel their sons were simply defending themselves are not happy about it.
The suspensions -- ranging from one game to the rest of the year -- were handed down by the Florida High School Athletic Association following a 90-minute conference call with administrators from both schools and their respective school districts.
Uncut Video:Brawl Caught On Camera
Two Middleburg Broncos players were suspended for the entire year, five players suspended for six weeks and three others must sit out one game.
The FHSAA also fined the schools for unsportsmanlike conduct. Middleburg must pay $2,950 and Leon County was fined $2,300.
Middleburg High Principal John O'Brian said he has seen a videotape of the brawl and is very disappointed by the behavior of his students. He said he does not plan to appeal the FHSAA sanctions.
While he would not discuss the specifics of the fight, O'Brian said that the players involved also face punishment from the school.
"The young men that are involved are good young men. They just made poor decisions," O'Brian said. "Because of those decisions, they will be held accountable."
A witness told Channel 4 that the Leon County players were boasting about their 17-14 win as the teams were in the handshake line. He said that as the tension escalated, Middleburg's coaches began pulling their players away when several Leon County players began swinging their helmets at the Broncos players.
One of Middleburg's assistant coaches and one player were treated for injuries at a Tallahassee hospital. Witnesses described the scene as chaos, and even one of the Middleburg cheerleaders was hit in the head with a helmet.
Many Middleburg parents and students said they were outraged by the suspensions because the other team started the fight.
"It's not fair. They were just trying to defend themselves," said Caitlyn Brand, a senior at the school.
Many parents said they have sent emails to the school district expressing their dissatisfaction at the outcome of the FHSAA investigation.
The Leon County Sheriff's Office also reviewed the videotape of the brawl and closed its investigation without filing criminal charges.