Dana DiFilippo and Ted Silary, Philadelphia Daily News, January 9, 2010
Any seasoned high-school sports coach expects a few jeers and gibes from the stands, where many spectators are so young, their passion outweighs their politeness.
But the trash talk turned bloody outside Olney High School Thursday afternoon after sour fans of Olney’s boys’ basketball team attacked the victorious Frankford players and coach in the parking lot after the game.
“When we came out as a team [to board the bus home], it was crazy. One of our [adult] fans got jumped right away; he got beat up pretty bad,” Frankford coach Ben Dubin said. “Everywhere you looked, there were fights going on, six to eight at a time. I got hit three times, [including] once to the face, but they didn’t catch me flush.”
Player Omar Askia was hit so hard in the face his eye swelled shut, Dubin said. Player Harold Hicks went home with a bloody mouth after catching a sucker-punch, Dubin said. Olney fans even appeared to be fighting each other, he added.
The violence came after escalating tension inside the gymnasium, where many spectators refused to sit in the stands, witnesses said.
When a Frankford player dunked a ball, Dubin said, an Olney fan standing behind that basket growled at him: “Stop trying to disrespect our team. We’re gonna f— you up after the game!”
Refs finally ended the game with more than a minute left on the clock because unruly fans wouldn’t cooperate, witnesses said. Frankford won, 74-51.
Police reported several disorderly-conduct arrests.
Witnesses agreed most of the misbehaving fans appeared to be Olney alumni and young adults from the neighborhood, and not current students.
“My team and Frankford’s team are all friends with each other. The kids for both teams played hard and acted like gentlemen,” said McKenna [Olney Coach Jeff McKenna], who also teaches history at Olney. “This was young adults from the neighborhood acting badly. It’s not a basketball or even a school issue. It’s just sad that they make us look bad.”
|Students by Ethnicity||This School||Pennsylvania School Average|
|% American Indian||1%||n/a|