St. Mary

Nov 6, 2013 7:41 PM by Allison Bourne-Vanneck

Referee Safety

Two high school football players in St. Mary Parish may be expelled from school after allegedly punching a referee during a football game last Friday.

It happened during West St. Mary's game against Erath. According to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association, not only were the West St. Mary football players involved, so was the assistant coach, who allegedly hit the referee in the back.

Penalties handed out so far include suspensions for the two players who also face possible expulsion, and the assistant coach is banned from West st. Mary's game this Friday.

Watching the game isn't the only focus for referees, says long-time referee Jim Davidson. He says they're also looking out for their safety.

"It really is tough that's why recruiting officials is so hard," Davidson said. He says security is always a priority, and makes sure it's there before, during, and after the game.

"You have to block out in your mind and in your ears what fans, coaches, and players are saying. Can't always do that. I think some people know you can't and they take the opportunity to harp on an entire ball game or a long time until we give them the stop sign," Davidson said.

Greg Gautreaux with the Lafayette Area Football Officials Association says schools need to have security before the game, during, and afterwards. He says some do, but some don't.

"They're always angry fans, coaches, some people who are disappointed but we're counting on security at these games to protect our officials," Gautreaux said.

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