High School Football

Sheriff deputies called to scene after Ridgeland-Hardeeville loss

Locker room incident follows 54-12 defeat at Hilton Head Island High School

mmccombs@islandpacket.comSeptember 2, 2012 

Beaufort County Sheriff deputies responded to an incident Friday night in the visitor's locker room at Hilton Head Island High School after the Seahawks' 54-12 win over Ridgeland-Hardeeville.

According to Sheriff's Office officials, deputies responded to a verbal altercation in the locker room and were then asked by Ridgeland-Hardeeville coaches to escort the team to the bus. The altercation didn't involve Hilton Head Island High players, coaches or students.

There were initial reports of a firearm, but Sheriff's Office officials called those reports "unfounded rumors."

There were no arrests, but an unidentified person affiliated with the Ridgeland-Hardeeville team was hospitalized with an unrelated health condition.

Jasper County athletics director James Gardner did not return calls seeking comment, and Ridgeland-Hardeeville head football coach Blake Raley directed all questions to Jasper County Schools public information officer Shellie Murdaugh.

"Jasper County School District officials are aware of and are currently looking into the matter," Murdaugh said in a release. "At this time, no actions are being taken as no incidents have been confirmed. District officials will be handling any matters should they arise."

Hilton Head Island High School principal Amanda O'Nan said an assistant principal unlocked the visitor's locker room after the game and called for help soon afterward.

"He said police were needed and that he needed backup, there was a fight. Of course the police responded," said O'Nan. She said the incident occurred sometime between 10 and 10:30 p.m., about 20 minutes after the game ended.

O'Nan said there was a second altercation near the Ridgeland-Hardeeville buses.

Hilton Head Island head football coach B.J. Payne said he was aware of an incident after the game but not the details.

"It had nothing to do with any of our fans, any of our players or anything like that," Payne said.

According to Sheriff's Office officials, a report has not been released. When it is, they said, the incident will be listed as suspicious activity.

Reporters Anne Christnovich and Chris Cox contributed to this story.

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