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Refs hurt during prep melee

By By Tom Goetz/Special to The Star
Jan. 31, 2002
BROOKHAVEN Violence at high school sporting events sent shock waves through two small town communities Friday night. A basketball game, played at Bowling Green Academy in Franklinton, La., was halted in the second quarter when hometown fans attacked and injured the two officials calling the varsity boys' game between Bowling Green and Brookhaven Academy.
Bill Brantley of Monticello and Charlie Ackerman of Franklinton were officiating Friday night's game.
Brantley said, "I got six staples, not six stitches. I did suffer a concussion. I was kept a couple of hours (at the hospital) for observation."
Brantley said there were two minutes and 30 seconds remaining in the second quarter when the incident began.
He said a couple of Brookhaven Academy players "came to me and said that No. 15 (Cody Glenn) was cussing some of them. The play was physical. They were getting after it."
The game was for first place in the District 4-AA race.
Referee Charlie Ackerman called a personal foul on Glenn. He was a transfer from Bogalusa (La.) High School where Ackerman teaches.
In the meantime, the clock had continued to run and the crowd was clamoring to stop it.
Brantley was telling coach Dale Watts of Brookhaven Academy about the adjustment in the clock. "As I turned around, I discovered that Ackerman had kicked the player out of the game. Charlie was explaining the circumstances of the foul to the scorekeeper. It would be a personal foul and a technical foul. Brookhaven would shoot the free throws and be awarded possession."
While the officials explained the situation to the scorekeeper, Brantley said, "A big man in a green shirt walks up and says something to Charlie and pushes him. When Charlie turned to his left, the guy reaches back to hit him.
Brantley said when they looked at the video tape "(Ackerman) was up and I was still on the floor. They rolled me over first. By then there were over 40 people on the floor.
Brantley said he called the ballgame. Brookhaven was ahead on the scoreboard at the time.
The ambulance came and attendants checked Brantley. "I was kind of wobbly. So I had a friend from Packard carry me in my vehicle to the hospital." Brantley was admitted to the Franklinton Hospital.
While Brantley was at the hospital, he passed out two more times.
Brantley had been approached by a police officer while he was sitting on the bench in an effort to rehash the incident.
Brantley said there was no uniformed law enforcement officer at the game for security purposes.
Hospital personnel performed a catscan on Brantley's head. According to a physician, the results were negative, but Brantley did have a concussion.
When Brantley was released, he was asked by the Franklinton police to come by headquarters and provide them with a statement. He gave a written statement.
Two video tapes were confiscated from the gymnasium. One tape was from Franklinton and the other from the Brookhaven side of the gym. The tapes were used to determine who should be arrested. The tapes will be used as evidence.
Brantley said he was informed by the Franklinton police that three people would be charged with second degree felony assault.
Witnesses said two brothers were assaulting Brantley on the tape. "One was punching me and the other was kicking me."
Ackerman also was admitted to the emergency room. Both officials received tetanus shots. Ackerman had cuts and scratches to his eyes and face.
Despite the bumps and bruises, Brantley officiated the basketball games Saturday night at Brookhaven Academy when the Cougars hosted Prentiss Christian School.
Brantley said the incident at Franklinton was unfortunate for the fans and players who love basketball. "It's a shame that parents can ruin things for the kids."
On two previous and separate occasions, there have been complaints filed against Bowling Green by other schools.