The fight that erupted during the customary postgame handshake between Camden and Dreher football players has cost both teams a shot at the Class 3A playoffs.
On Thursday, the South Carolina High School League placed both teams on a one-year probation. Camden and Dreher will be permitted to compete in the final two regular season games but are banned from postseason competition, which begins in November. Neither team can participate in 2015 preseason jamborees. Both teams also were fined an undisclosed amount.
The league had determined on Wednesday that at least seven players from each team would serve suspensions of at least one game. And on Thursday, the league said some athletes will serve multiple-game suspensions.
Dreher (6-2, 2-2) and Camden (3-4, 2-2) will host region games on Friday night. Dreher plays against Chapin and Camden meets Richland Northeast.
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Dreher coach Treigh Sullivan said the suspensions further deplete an already thin Dreher roster, which has been hit hard by injuries.
Because of the severity of the incident, which involved multiple altercations and could lead to criminal charges, the one-year probation is in accordance with the South Carolina High School League’s constitution and by-laws, SCHSL officials said.
The fight occurred on Oct. 17, after Camden defeated Dreher 39-30 in a Region 4-3A contest at Camden’s Zemp Stadium. School administrators and coaches from both teams broke up the melee.
“We extend a sincere thank you to each school’s administration and coaching staff for their full cooperation and their role in bringing closure to this matter,” league commissioner Jerome Singleton said. “We also want to thank the athletes who chose to not get involved in the incident and by doing so, exemplified what it means to be a representative of their school and the South Carolina High School League.”
A written statement from the league said, “Good sportsmanship is paramount for any athletic program to thrive and be productive. Positive, responsible behavior by individuals involved with SCHSL events is essential and will have a lasting effect on our athletes no matter what the final score. Combative or disruptive behavior is inexcusable and will absolutely not be tolerated by the SCHSL.”
On Monday, the SCHSL reviewed video of the incident that was supplied by Camden High School and was subsequently turned over to Camden Police Department. It might serve as evidence if any criminal charges are filed.
On Wednesday, a Camden Police spokesman said the department is conducting its investigation and consulting with the solicitor’s office about possible charges.
A Richland 1 official had no comment on Thursday evening.
After players from Hunter-Kinard-Tyler and Denmark fought following a game in August, penalties for both teams consisted of a fine, multi-game suspensions for involved players and restrictive probation. But both teams are eligible for the playoffs this season.
Chris Dearing contributed to this story.