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Posted on Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

Mother of Huron player injured in high school football brawl: 'It's just terrible'

By Matt Durr


Will Harris required five stitches for this gash on the side of his face. According to Debbie Harris, her son was kicked in the face during a fight that occurred after Friday night's football game between Huron and Pioneer High School.

Photo courtesy of Debbie Harris

Previous coverage: One victim sent to hospital, no arrests made after on-field brawl at Huron, Pioneer football game

The mother of the Huron High School football player that went to the hospital following Friday night’s brawl at Riverbank Stadium says her son is resting at home, but is feeling the effects of the fight.

Debbie Harris of Ann Arbor said her son, Will Harris, a junior at Huron, was kicked in the face by a Pioneer player and a crutch also was swung at her son during the fight.

“Everything is on tape. We were fortunate to see part of the tape. We do know who exactly kicked and who swung the crutch,” Debbie said. “They are two different people, both Pioneer players.”

The result of the attack required Will to receive five stitches on his left cheek. He also has numerous scratches that run along the side of his face and down to his neck, and he is experiencing concussion-like symptoms, which the family is monitoring.

Debbie, who watched the incident unfold from her seat in the stands then reviewed the video later, said her son was not involved in the fighting.

“My son did not throw a punch. One of his teammates was involved in a scuffle and (Will) pulled a Pioneer player off of him. He was trying to defuse that situation,” Debbie said. “When he fell to the ground is when a Pioneer kid came up and kicked him in the face with a cleat.”


A crutch at midfield following the game between Huron and Pioneer High Schools on Friday. Witnesses saw someone using a crutch as a weapon and one person (Will Harris) was sent to the hospital to get stitches.

Daniel Brenner |

Will eventually was picked up off the ground by a Huron parent and pulled away from the chaos.

“These are kids from Pioneer and Huron that he has known his whole life. He’s played basketball and football and other sports together (with them for) his whole life. Yeah, they compete against each other, but they’re friends,” Debbie said.

The fight started after the Pioneers defeated Huron 35-6. As the Huron head coach Cory Gildersleeve and Pioneer head coach Paul Test met at midfield for their post-game handshake, a fight broke out between the two teams that involved players and coaches.

Test and Gildersleeve have each given different accounts of what exactly started the physical contact between the two schools, igniting the brawl.

Debbie said that her family has received lots of support from coaches and administrators at Huron. They've called to check on Will’s condition.

As much as the physical pain is bothering Will, the ugliness of the incidents is also hurtful.

“My son is upset and embarrassed for his team and school,” Debbie said.

Harris would not say if the family will be taking legal action following the injuries sustained by Will.

“Its just terrible, it’s a terrible thing that happened at a kids game,” Debbie said. “Some of them are big and grown and look like men, but they are kids. This is a kid’s game.

“When did it come to this? When did it become more than a football game?

"They came to our field and substantially beat us. Just shake hands and go home.”



Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 12:21 a.m.

"When did it come to this? When did it become more than a football game?" When schools decided their main focus was on sports rather than education.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 12:28 a.m.

...and that winning games is more important than succeeding academically. That's why we see better sporting scores than meap test results.


Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 9:12 p.m.

"My son did not throw a punch. One of his teammates was involved in a scuffle and (Will) pulled a Pioneer player off of him. He was trying to defuse that situation," Debbie said. "When he fell to the ground is when a Pioneer kid came up and kicked him in the face with a cleat." WORD TO THE WISE: If you don't want to be involved, don't get involved. How many times have we read about the innocent "peacemaker" who was stabbed, shot, etc. in a fight? If you're going to get involved in a fight, you should be prepared to fight.


Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

The players and coaches all need to be disciplined. I watched Coach Gildersleeve's antics when he was at Dundee.Don't know if i'd let my kid play for him.


Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

Some Huron orchestra players moved some counselors' mattresses and sleeping bags at camp in August, not causing any damage. An inquiry ensued until 3 am, the night before the concert. Some kids were sent home from camp early, a meeting of parents and kids was called, and students wrote letters of apology and did community service. If coaches, players and kids and the stands were physically fighting on Friday, it sounds like a riot, with some getting seriously hurt. It will be interesting to see if the consequences in each case are to scale with the seriousness of each incident.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 11:28 a.m.

You should repeat this comment on the story concerning the suspensions or super's reaction. It is an important valid point but I'm afraid it won't be seen in this older story.

say it plain

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 2:02 a.m.

Great info and what a fascinating contrast it will be to the 'consequences' we are likely to see for these football kids. Didn't AAPS just cut the band camp money out of the budget too? The couple thousand that they had been spending on having kids develop their musical skills? But they declined to cut freshman football teams because it would be too "dangerous" to have kids start as freshmen in JV?!


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 7:06 p.m.

Prevention anyone? Do we need to more carefully screen the backgrounds of our staff/coaches/assistances in the public education system? Would we have found that some of these people are unsuitable for the job description?


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 6:32 p.m.

I sure hope the administrators and MHSAA take a look at the players' twitter accounts. I am appalled by the amount of backslapping and highfiving going on from both teams. Just pick a player and click on the web of followers. You can see that their thuggish attitudes won't change until they are severely disciplined.

say it plain

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 1:58 a.m.

And just as a note to @YpsiGirl4Ever. I hope any kids you know, and adults as well, understand that social media is *hugely* used as evidence in all manner of 'investigation'.

Steve Coatney

Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 11:54 p.m.

@YpsiGirl: Evidence is evidence. Good grief. These are BIG KIDS who got into a major brawl along with their ADULT coaches. Argue all you want over what the punishment should be, but not over the gathering of evidence to determine that punishment.


Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 7 a.m.

Now where penalizing students based on Twitter accounts? Really? Didn't the story reference that videotapes of the emlee are available? That is more than enough evidence. Let's leave KIDS social media profiles out of it.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

No arrests? Ann Arbor and Michigan will now be in the national spotlight, and it is critical that the legal system operates swiftly and holds everyone accountable to the maximum penalties provided by law. This is equivalent to domestic violence action/law, except that those responsible are the coaches, staff, and leaders/athletes. Each and everyone involved (the students/athletes and staff/coaches) should be identified on video, arrested, charged and processed according to the law. This is way beyond the policy jurisdiction of the superintendant, administrators, board, principal, athletic director, and staff. This is plain and simple an act of assault and battery, to be dealt with by the law, with the maximum penalties applied up to and including criminal penalties and jail/prison time. You can be sure that our zero tolerance policy and law for domestic violence is a model here. If we do anything short of charging and prosecuting everyone involved, then we will see this again in the future. If everyone who was guilty of fighting is charged with criminal assault and battery, without any "easy judgements" we are sure this kind of thing won't happen again. Ann Arbor and Michigan is now in the national spotlight, and it is critical that the legal system operates responsibly and holds everyone accountable to avoid a repeat. If Ann Arbor schools hired responsible staff and coaches, then the staff and coaches need to stand up to the challenge and admit their guild and accept the maximum penalty provided by law. This will ensure Michigan schools and the rest of the country will not see this kind of incident again.


Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

I agree with your sentiment that the coaches responsible need to be accountable for their actions and should either stand up and admit guilt, or resign for failure to comply with the rules and standards set forth by the Athletic Department and MHSAA. We all have bad days on and off the field but when it gets to this point you've crossed the line and it's time to re-evaluate whether or not coaching is the right profession. Sadly this is a good example of how impulsive behavior and spouting off at the mouth can have disastrous results.

Get over it

Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 8:58 p.m.

Have you watched a hockey game (assault & battery with a weapon)

david craven

Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 4:47 p.m.

At onr time AA schools were the cream of the crop they alwase had the best of the best in their programs. In the last few years they removed millions from the programs in the district . It looks like to me they were buying teams now the money is gone so are the morals of the staff and players. In past years the AA teams ran up the scores at all their games I remember Lincoln looseing 60+ to 0 many times with no problems. HEY AA WAKE UP WINNING ISN'T EVERYTHING it is what you learn as a student athlete about respect and compition that counts.

say it plain

Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

I feel like my comments here would be less misinterpreted if I mainly critiqued the Pioneer program lol. But, of course, whenever a system encourages 'rivalries' and demands/expects winning, there is the chance that *this* is what will be the end-result, what people are claiming they see in the Pioneer program lately, but perhaps saw in some other school's program at some other point in time... namely, a model of competition that is totally at odds with civility. I wish that *all* US school spending on these kinds of programs were curtailed, I am not meaning to single out AAPS. Not all schools or school systems create the kind of situation that seems to exist with Pioneer these days, obviously. But it is a danger born of the beast that is any one of these big over-emphasized sports-- you know, the kinds that have associated cheerleading squads!


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 4:09 p.m.

Wow! Everyone says ypsilanti township residents are the ones that are out of control. I have to chuckle.

Heather Konars

Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 4:42 p.m.

I was just thinking the same thing, having grown up in Ypsi. There is always a err of superiority coming from Ann Arbor when compared to Ypsilanti. This goes to show that there are people with poor judgement and uncivilized behavior everywhere. With that being said, Will Harris is my cousin, and I know him. He is an excellent athlete, yet a very mild mannered young man. He was raised in a family that has an enormous sports focus and has been taught how to play fair and conduct himself with good sportsmanship since birth. As a character reference for Will and his entire family, I can guarantee that he was an innocent victim in this unfortunate event, as videos of the incident clearly show.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.

Hope Mr. Harris recovers soon and can get on with enjoying the rest of the school year. His mother is absolutely correct, after a game you should 'just shake hands and go home.' Unfortunately Pioneer's roguish staff teaches their kids to not shake hands after the game - look straight ahead and keep walking. Having seen both of these teams play - Huron is a never give up team that plays very hard, but never crosses the line. Pioneer, different story. Unfortunate event here, hope appropriate measures are taken.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 6:11 a.m.

For those mentioning the cost of AAPS sports programs and specifically the football program. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think, that the sports programs budget is covered by all those college football fans coming into the Big House across the street. I specifically remember hearing that the Pie high football field (field turf) was paid for by parking revenue.


Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

There is not a lot of transparency in AAPS for the athletic budget, or the Boosters budget as well. However, as parents we pay athletic fees for our kids to play each year, and most sports we pay a lot more money to participate. The most expensive sports my kids have been involved in are football, and crew. If Tag is implying that football parking covers all the sports programs, he is incorrect.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 6:22 p.m.

Not only that, but the coaching staff is paid peanuts for doing this. They are doing it because they love it, practically for free. From what I understand, there have been really deep cuts to Huron's football program and athletic programs.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

No one can correct you because there is not TRUE transparency for the AAPS athletic budget.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 5:31 a.m.

It will be very interesting to see how this is handled. First, from an officials standpoint, was this still under the juristiction of the officials. If it was, young Mr. Harris is in violation of MHSAA policy by joining into the fight. The MHSAA's policies are very clear, that when you move into the altercation area, you are part of the altercation, and as such, are ejected from the contest which carries a minimum 1 game suspension. Officials juristiction is maintained generally until all officials have left the field of play and have filled out all required paperwork regarding the contest. Second, I'm pretty sure young Mr. Harris, while possibly attempting to do the right thing, was in violation AAPS policy. This should result in a suspension for him because he did get invovled. Finally, the AAPS administration need to review all available videotapes from this and determine EACH and EVERY person invovled and issue appropriate punishments.

Jim Osborn

Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 4:18 a.m.

When I was in elementary and Jr. High school, I saw and my fair share of fights and participated in a few. By high school, fighting was rarer since both sides had much more to lose as guys had become much stronger. Hitting someone when he was down was not done, and certainly not via a kick to the face when someone was down. Our brains and morals had developed enough by 6th grade to know not to do that. Especially not a kick to the face while wearing cleats. This can't be excused by comments such as adolescent brain development or testosterone or boys-will-be-boys. I'd hate to think of what the person who did the kicking or swung the crutch might do in the future if he faces no serious discipline after this. I wonder if some that are making comments, calling it a "minor scuffle" would feel the same it they had received the blow, and the scar on the face? I strongly doubt it.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 12:01 a.m.

This is all blown out if proportion. The players were backing up their respective coaches, and although it got out of hand, all that happened is a kid had to get some stitches. So what. I do not condone what happened, but instead of scolding the players and programs for losing control for a couple minutes, how about you ask yourself why you are so grieve stricken from a couple stitches. Some families have had much worse situations then this but this is the story that everyone talks about.


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 11:12 p.m.

Wait....did he actually get "stitches" or did they just glue it? I haven't heard of them using stitches in several years now...stitches tend to leave additional holes.


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 11:11 p.m.

If you were fighting and somoeone grabbed you, what would your reaction be? Especially if you weren't an adult and looking on in hindsight? Equally, if you saw your friend in a fight, what would your reaction be? Especially if you weren't an adult and looking on in hindsight? These are kids. And by all accounts, their coaches set a poor example. Cut them some slack. Sure there needs to be some consequences, but to portray this kid as the victim and other as villains just because he ended up with an injury that needed treating is ridiculous. He got unlucky. It could have been any one of the players on either team. The "victim" joined the fight, he could have walked away. Bad decision, but he's a teenager -that's what they do. The "gulit" is shared equally by any player who touched another during the confrontation. No matter what their injuries were.


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 11:51 p.m.

While you make good points, as someone else has stated in one of these stories, AAPS has a ZERO tolerance for physical altercations. If two kids get in a fight, they BOTH get suspended, doesn't matter who started it. While I don't necessarily agree with it, rules is rules. If the school cuts the football players slack, they will look like they are playing favorites.

Wolf's Bane

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 10:35 p.m.

Hmm, testosterone overload? Maybe its time for coed varsity teams?

Unusual Suspect

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 1:02 p.m.

It would never work. The play clock does not allow enough time to discuss everybody's feelings between plays.

Wolf's Bane

Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

Sweet. Now replace to offense with all women.

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 11:15 p.m.

It's already here. Sykline has a female kicker.


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 11:10 p.m.

Do they have those powderpuff games or something like that?


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 9:16 p.m.

Still say this is no big deal. A fight breaks out, a few minor scratches, and an entire group of excitable people want to see coaches fired, players suspended, and seasons ended. What would you expect of a bunch of testosterone filled young guys and a long running rivalry where one team gets embarrassed with such a defeat. A year from now and this will mean absolutely nothing. Sheltered people living sheltered lives.

Robert Coon

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 9:50 p.m.

Creating distractions from the issues and reaffirming what happened doesn't serve anyone. You could get a cushy job in basic cable news, but you're still wrong. As someone who has been in a past Pioneer/Huron skirmish (spring 1992), no one was spiked in the face and hit with a crutch. That was a non-issue, this Test vs. Gildersleeve is clearly an issue.

say it plain

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 11:41 p.m.

Is there something you are convinced you know about people who disagree with you...that they are 'sheltered' compared to you lol?!

Angry Moderate

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

"Will Harris required five stitches for this gash on the side of his face." Why don't you let somebody kick you in the face and see how you like getting stitches?


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 9:51 p.m.

I agree Craig. This is an uncommon result of poor sportsmanship. The fact that there were no serious injuries makes it mighty small news for the reactions that I am reading from a lot of folks that never leave the comfort of their living room.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 9:31 p.m.

it may not be a "big deal" in the "big scheme" but it needs to be treated as a big deal otherwise there is the old slippery slope where this sort of thing becomes unacceptably common.

Claudio Petrovic

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 8:59 p.m.

This happened in 2002 Pioneer against Bedford. It was much crazier than this brawl no expulsions and a player got 1 one game suspension. All of Pioneers 02' senior class graduated 21 have degrees and 12 more with graduate degrees. It's a blip on the adolescent map. You new school adults are insane I feel bad for your kids. "criminal charges, expulsions........" what?????

Ron Granger

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 8:41 p.m.

Remind us again why Ann Arbor spends *millions* on *after school* sports like football when actual education during schooltime is being cut. Remind us again why the sports budget specifics are kept secret from taxpayers.


Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 2:30 p.m.

"The AD's are overpaid by about 75K, for one. You just don't know how hard it is to schedule sporting events....You have to hire coaches, talk to people, omg. The list goes on and on. Wait. Someone who makes about $10 per hour can do this same thing." This comment couldn't be farther from the truth. The Athletic Director works about 60-70+ hours per week if not more! On top of that they get to field hundreds of phone calls from angry parents over playing time, playing time and more playing time. Then they field emails and phones calls from coaches answering questions. Then they get to figure out how to run 21+ programs with limited funding while funding cuts are always on the table. How many kids have benefited from athletic programs in AAPS? THOUSANDS. Add in the staffing of coaches, evaluating coaches, monitoring programs, games, helping answer questions regarding eligibility, etc. Sorry but until you have actually been part of running an athletic program don't underestimate the daunting responsibilities of the job. I have returned from meets at the school at 11pm to still see the AD in her office working. They work all the time not to mention their funding for staff was also cut so the office staff is also completely overworked. I've grown tired of the complaints over the Athletic Offices in AAPS. They are working nonstop to keep as many programs up and running to benefit as many kids as possible. Ann Arbor offers many athletic opportunities for kids so let's show some appreciation for the massive efforts that two people in each Athletic Office are doing. Don't throw the AD's under the bus because of stupid irrational and impulsive decisions by grown men during a football game.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 11:22 a.m.

The AD's are overpaid by about 75K, for one. You just don't know how hard it is to schedule sporting events....You have to hire coaches, talk to people, omg. The list goes on and on. Wait. Someone who makes about $10 per hour can do this same thing.

Debbie Harris

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 7:49 p.m.

I must reply to some comments since they are aimed at my son and myself. First, I didn't say my son knows ALL the Pioneer players, but having lived here his entire life, he knows a great deal of them. Some are good friends, former teammates, and some have reached out to us to express their embarrassment and sadness about the fight. Second, if YOU personally don't know my son or myself, then please do not use our name or make comments or assumptions or accusations about us. My son took his helmet off because the game was OVER, he was headed over to go shake hands as is done after every game. That is when the fight broke out. Someone stated that they saw my son punch a kid in the stomach....that post has since been deleted. I tell you this, that is a blatant lie and is slander. I challenge you to prove that. Do not make false claims that affect a 16 year old kid's life. You're the adult. I did not name names nor did I make any claims as to what took place in the fight, other than what happened to my son specifically. My accounting can all be proven by the film which I'm sure will make the rounds. Pioeer players have been on Twitter recounting the fight and have admitted to what they've which I say thank you!!! They have named names of who did what, and referred to one of their players "swung his crutch over that n**** head." Really? So this is what we are dealing with, the taunting, the ridiculous and brazen aftermath by some individuals that this is acceptable and all in fun. We did not contact, they found my son's name on twitter and contacted us. Read my statements, they are general and only in regards to my child, not anyone elses. We have also been contacted by all the television stations to which we have declined. This is my child, he loves playing football, he hopes to go to college and his future and reputation are at stake when people throw his name around without having facts to support their accusation

Pretty Gritty

Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 3:59 p.m.

It would be libel not slander. I hope your kid gets better soon.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.

Just a concerned family member here... Been a long time since my son played football in High School but this whole disturbing episode has brought back some very unpleasant memories. There is a very big difference in injuries sustained while participating in a sport and injuries which are intentionally inflicted upon another athlete post game time. When my son played high school football in Arizona, a student athlete was intentionally cleated in the face and head by a member of the opposing team (also caught on tape). The athlete who inflicted the injuries was tried as an adult and went to jail for assault with a deadly weapon. Just sayin'.... Will, I'm very sorry for the painful injuries you sustained. No child/young man deserves to go through this no matter what the critics are saying here. You are, and have always been a gifted athlete and a super person. Your family is proud of you for demonstrating incredible self restraint and integrity. Keep on keepin' on!


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

Very well stated Ms. Harris you show tremendous class and compassion in your assessment of the situation. You are a great role model for you son! Speedy recovery to Will!

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 8:31 p.m.

"As a parent, I think we need to step back, and let the professionals investigate....." My concern is whether a fair up front investigation will happen or whether PR/image/ whatever will water down the events. I see two separate issues. Potential "crimes" that would fall under a police investigation versus a school system debating suspensions, expulsions, firings, etc. I worry more about the latter than the former.


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.

As a parent of three teenagers in one of the two named A2 high schools, I would not have given any type of interview. The facts have not been released by the AAPS, or the A2PD. There has been a lot of bad-mouthing on both sides in these is just looking for hits on each and every story related to this event. As a parent, I think we need to step back, and let the professionals investigate. It's obvious where our allegience as parents lie, with our kids of course. You are certainly entitled to give an interview, but you had to expect a backlash of comments from the professional armchair quarterbacks, armed with their laptops. I'm sorry your son was injured so badly, and I hope he makes a full recovery.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 8:11 p.m.

well said mom Harris. I give you my thumb up.


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

According to school policy your son should not have gotten involved in the altercation that was ensuing. He helped one of his team mates and under school policies he should have sought out and reported the incident to someone of authority and let them handle it. This is part of the zero tolerance policies in place now. So I'm sure your son will have to face some disciplinary action due to his involvement even though he was injured. Something similar to this happened to my son and he was suspended for defending himself.............good luck


Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 12:28 p.m.

I had the misfortune of getting jumped by a former teammate teh day of my lst high school football game. I was cornered after getting a drink from the fountain and was against a wall so I fought my way out of the corner, I got suspended and was not allowed to play in the game. Unfortunate this happened to your son, VERY unfortunate pioneer likes to run up the score on other teams and especially bad that the huron coach couldn't be a grown up and not get into an altercation with the pioneer coach. the player from Pioneer that kicked Harris should be suspended from school and kicked off the football team PERIOD, same with whoever swung the crutch. a kid laying on the ground and you kick them in the face you need to go and why pioneer hasn't already acted on that is dusgusting, same with whoever swung the crutch as a weapon. those are future inmates doing things like that, shows a total lack of knowing right and wrong. I would file charges and make damn sure those kids never represented my school again.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 12:28 a.m.

People should not be punished for defending themselves, or for trying to get others out of the situation. I'm not sure how the guidelines here could have been followed because it seems "someone of authority" actually started this thing.


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

I am in NO WAY saying I believe this is what happened here. And I have been as outspoken as anyone( almost) about how wrong this incident was. But let me give you a scenario. A brawl breaks out on a football field a player from team A and team B start fighting. The player from team A started the fight. And then proceeds to get his clock cleaned and goes to the hospital for repairs. Is the player from team B still the criminal?


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

JCJ, the law says that it doesn't matter who started the fight. You can defend yourself, but can't clean someone's clock if you are not at risk. There are fights where both participants get charged with assault.


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 7:54 p.m.

No, but maybe the coach is a criminal.

dading dont delete me bro

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 6:46 p.m.

"... ,but they're friends," Debbie said." nice friends...

say it plain

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 6:53 p.m.

even more of an indictment of Varsity Sports as a concept then! These kids had been friends, back when they played Rec & Ed games, back when it was so much less about posturing and records and coaches yelling at them to perform, people creating the whole ridiculously over-emphasized system that Varsity Sports in towns like Ann Arbor can be! *This* is what varsity sports teaches now, apparently!

dading dont delete me bro

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 6:38 p.m.

back in the day when i played hs football, whenever there was even a slight risk of this going on we were told to keep our helmets on...

dading dont delete me bro

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 7:42 p.m.

removed? seriously? why? seriously.

say it plain

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

So that you weren't tempted to continue on with it or so that you'd be protected when the uncontrolled rage kicked in among more of the players!? It sounds like your coaches had more concern for and control over unsportsmanlike displays on the field back then?!


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 6:37 p.m.

@ Matt Durr: Ms Harris told you that her son was trying to DEFUSE the situation, not DIFFUSE it. You wrote down the wrong word. Defuse, as in to de-fuse a bomb; the literal meaning, and origin of, the word. To diffuse something is to spread it out. That is, of course, not what she was talking about. And now you've got jcj saying it, too!


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

Paula, you might want to fix this sentence, too: "The result of the attack required Will to receive five stitches on his left cheek along."

Paula Gardner

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 6:41 p.m.

We're correcting that now. Thank you! Crazy day so far- I missed it, too.

say it plain

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 6:30 p.m.

And I'm very sorry for the Harris family that this happened. It *is* terrible, and an assault like that should have serious consequences for the people who did it. I am sorry for Will Harris, and I hope he recovers fully and quickly. It's inexcusable that a student-athlete could do something like was done to him--if tape shows that a Pioneer player kicked him in the face, that another hit him with a *weapon* essentially of a big long stick that a crutch represents, then the whole Pioneer football program should be ended for the year, surely!

Billy Bob Schwartz

Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 11:07 p.m.

It isn't the actual damage that makes me's the vicious attitude of some of these, well, alleged jerks. You are on the ground, I'm wearing my cleats, you have a face, I have a foot, so I will kick you in the face. In what way is this inconsequential? Yes, Will Harris will most likely be fine. No, it is not tolerable. Get hold of yourself. This is not football or incidental's vicious and unconscionable behavior, and should be dealt with accordingly.


Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

Sorry for the Harris family? The kid has a gash on his face. It's about as permanent as a broken bone. Of course, his sensibilities (as well as those of his poor mother, who is clearly feeling the stinging anguish) might take longer to heal. Concussion? I can barely stop laughing at the concern over "concussion-like" symptoms that were supposedly suffered during a *football game.*

say it plain

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 6:20 p.m.

Stop paying our tax dollars to football coaches. Stop spending MILLIONS OF DOLLARS of AAPS TIGHT BUDGETS on Varsity Sports. Did having an athletic director for Pioneer *and* Huron help them with the ethics and sportsmanship of their program over there at Pioneer where they'd been running up scores all season?! More so than at, say, school districts who get by with only *one* 100K/yr administrator per highschool sports system?! Just let the kids who want to play violent games for violent guys do so on *their own dime* and let us educate our kids instead of get them worked up over offensive plays on a field we spend too much money to maintain. Just enough. Spend the money on gym classes for fitness *and FUN* for more of our AAPS students. You might distinguish yourself enough from the other schools in the area enough to get more bodies in the buildings and make a couple bucks to boot, Dr. Green! The "student-athletes" can learn how to be jerks and adrenaline-controlled dweebs in any of the 'ordinary' districts...let's truly live up to our marketing moniker of "ExtrAAordinary"!


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 8:55 p.m.

I'm not sure how much it cost AAPS for football but I do know that often times high school football is revenue neutral--- they bring in more money than is spent on the sport and when you add in concession sales ( booster clubs) they bring in much more.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 5:39 a.m.

Pioneer has been running the scores up all season huh. Have you actually watched any Pioneer games? They have two big wins this season 69-0 over Dexter and 50-0 over Skyline. Those two opponents have something in common. They are both pretty bad football programs. There is a balance that needs to be struck in sports. You need to get the players adequate playing time without running up the score. In both games, the second and third string players for Pioneer played significant minutes and did a portion of the scoring. You can't tell these players not to try. The simple fact is, Pioneer has a very solid program and the teams they've "run it up on" are not good. When Pioneer has played decent opponents they haven't run up the score, and have been beaten handily by a couple of them. Now as for the idea of sports and why schools have them. There is a significant portion of the population that only attends school because they play sports. Sports are not only an escape, but also the path to a potential future that may not exist otherwise. Sports are a great motivator for students.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 1:51 a.m.

I almost agree with your incoherent rant, but I can't quite understand it.

Ron Granger

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 8:39 p.m.

"how about cut funding to band and chess club too.............geez" Are you prepared to compare the budgets for those activities vs. football?

mike gatti

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 8:39 p.m.

Don't attack sports because you don't like the bullet heads who run them. Just like others shouldn't deride chess because it does not have macho cache. Many great lessons can be learned from sports and the competition involved. However, the schools need to find coaches who can properly do this truly difficult job. Ultimately while winning feels great and losing stinks there is more at stake here. Moreover, if parents don't buy into this then they can stay away or pull their kids.

Flynn O'Donnell

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 8:12 p.m.

Great solution buddy. Lets turn the basketball courts and football stadiums into bouncy houses too!!


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

Great about cut funding to band and chess club too.............geez


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 6:10 p.m.

I can certainly believe that he was only trying to diffuse the situation. But it would be hard for anyone to know that at the time. But there is absolutely NO justification for being kicked in the face or anywhere!


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 6:06 p.m.

We had more serious injuries on a typical playground day in the 50's and 60's. Way to big of a deal is being made of this rivalry that resulted in a few scratches. Next come the lawyers! Be more concerned about kids that are surviving terrible illnesses at Mott Children's Hospital and let the big kids (including coaches) scrap a bit on a Friday night.

say it plain

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

and it's truly the *no sense* part, @superhappyfunbrett, that I worry is too much a part of these programs. This playing up rivalries and culture of caring about it beyond it being a game. When allegedly what is being 'taught' according to the proponents of our spending so much money on sports programs like football is organization, discipline, sportsmanship... one *has to* call BS, I think!


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 6:57 p.m.

I think it's less the injuries and more the fact that adults lost control of the situation. A situation that became chaotic due to their mishandling of a bleeping high school football game. You take it out during the game, following the rules. Not after, like you have no sense.

say it plain

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 6:41 p.m.

what a bizarre false choice for concerns you create here lol... don't worry about assault, this is no worse than falling off the merry-go-rounds there used to be allowed in playgrounds lol... scrap a bit on a friday night, too cute... Think of it, the idea of lawyers getting involved in assault cases! Wait, though, yeah, you're right, football already *is* assault, I see the source of your slippery slope now, d'oh!


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 6 p.m.

Gildersleeve should be fired just based on his record this?! Adios amigo! The whole Huron football program needs a housecleaning. Pioneer's assistant coach should be fired. Pioneer's head coach should be suspended for next season at the very least. An absolute dreadful display of bad sportsmanship all the way around. The kids should have never been witness to this. I'm ashamed to have my kids associated with this nonsense. It's an embarrassing for the entire Ann Arbor Public School system. A very dark day indeed.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

I would imagine that Gildersleeve would be in trouble in any case, but agree that both coaches should face significant consequences.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 1:13 a.m.

you've summed it up perfectly...probably the best comment on this incident that I've read

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 6 p.m.

There need to be arrests in cases like these, not just school-issued discipline.


Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 9:17 p.m.

Arrests? What's the charge - injuring a person's sensibilities? I can't help but enjoy the "holier-than-thou-art" commentary here. A bunch of sanctimonious individuals who either never felt the competitive athletic drive, or is just too old to even remember if they ever had one. Oh ya I know, "true competitors can control themselves." This would be exactly the sort of comment I'd expect hear from an individual who never found themselves to be a true competitor. But the memory of "glory days" are hard to erase. This was a game, played by physically fit and aggressive young men who generally wanted to win. Feelings get hurt, and a few punches are thrown. No big deal. The kid with the gash on his face will get over it, just like everybody else does.


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 7:39 p.m.

Any player that entered the field after this altercation started knew that there was a possibility of getting hurt. Don't whine after taking a couple of shots after throwing a few of your own. Some of these commenters would have the "death penalty" brought back to handle this simple scuffle.

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

If a person doesn't want a criminal record, he should avoid committing crimes.


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 7:51 p.m.

Are you out of your mind? Do you know anything about the development of the brain of an adolescent? You want to give these kids crimainal records for what amounted to a minor scuffle? Kids get stiches all of the time doing stupid things, but giving them a criminal record? Really???????? The school is more than capable of handling this and they should..........

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

Assault with a weapon is a crime, whether it's on a football field or not.


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 6:40 p.m.

Arrests might be a little much in my opinion. Legal action of some sort? Probably going to happen. Adults getting fired? Probably going to happen. Kids getting disciplined? Definitely going to happen, and rightfully so. But it is sad when adults forget that kids are following our lead. KIDS.


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 5:47 p.m.

these football player need to be disciplined , the pick kids in hall ways and the fields of Dreams!


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 7:37 p.m.

Treat this like any other legal situation of violence. Investigate, prosecute, trial, consequences of probation/rehabilitation or prison. When people know these actions will be followed up with investigations and legal consequences, the behavior will generally IMMEDIATELY change. Let it go in two weeks, and another incident along with greater liability will be on the hands of the AAPS administration, local, and state law enforcement. And a bigger national story will begin to develop, including the reputation of AAPS, MHAA, local, and state law enforcement. Anyone seen the recent documentaries about increasing school violence, bullying, and the unintended but logical consequences?


Sun, Oct 14, 2012 : 10:57 a.m.

The discipline needs to start with the AD's. They aren't the instigators on the field. But, the AD's aren't good role models, at least the two that were there before. They don't know what they don't know.