High school football teams from Hayesville and Swain County narrowly avoided a one-year ban from the NCHSAA playoffs for their actions during a highly volatile Smoky Mountain Conference game on Friday.
The Southwestern Officials Association spent the weekend studying game film from the Maroon Devils’ 38-7 win and announced its findings Sunday. Two players from each team were issued ejections for fighting, while the Yellow Jackets also had one player ejected for taunting and baiting and a fourth ejected for flagrant contact.
NCHSAA guidelines state that if three or more players from one team are ejected for fighting, that school is not eligible for the playoffs.
Because of concerns over safety, officials ended Friday’s game early with 3:39 remaining in the fourth quarter. Each player ejected for fighting will now be suspended two games by the NCHSAA, while the others will have to sit out one game.
The SOA will make its recommendation for punishment to the NCHSAA on Monday and declined to identify the players that will be affected.