ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond Senior football team will continue its march towards another state championship without several players, coach Paul Hoggard announced Tuesday morning.
Hoggard suspended 10 players from his program following an altercation in the football locker room on Nov. 1, while the team was preparing for its opening-round matchup with Cary. Of the 10, four were on the varsity roster, but none were starters. Hoggard said the others were junior varsity players, some of whom had been called up to the varsity for the postseason.
The two students involved in the fight were suspended from school for 10 days per the Richmond County Schools guidelines. Hoggard said the spectators were issued three-day suspensions because they violated school policy by using their cell phones to video the scuffle.
“It was football players in the football locker room and they didn’t do anything to try and stop it, instead they encouraged it,” Hoggard said of the incident. “The fight was between a junior varsity football player and a non-football player, who had quit the junior varsity team earlier in the season.”
Hoggard added he wasn’t sure if the videos were uploaded to any social media websites. If they were, Hoggard doesn’t believe he or the school’s administration can enforce having the videos pulled down.
“I don’t think you can ask someone to delete a video if they used their personal profile,” Hoggard said.
Since handing down the suspensions, Hoggard added no one has contacted him questioning his decision and he has the backing of the school’s administration.
“They have been very supportive,” Hoggard said.
The locker room fight wasn’t the only issue the Richmond coaching staff has been forced to deal with during the postseason.
Hoggard suspended a defensive starter for the Fuquay-Varina contest for violating team rules. After sitting out the second-round victory, the player returned to practice Monday morning.
In addition, the sixth-year coach was forced to squelch rumors of his departure at the end of the season.
Hoggard said: “The only way I will leave is if I am dismissed.”
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.