A postgame brawl following No. 5 Hylton’s 19-7 victory over Potomac (Va.) on Friday was sparked when a person believed to be the parent of a Potomac player punched Hylton linebacker E.J. Levenberry in the jaw, according to Eric Levenberry, the player’s father.
“When the game was over, this parent was on the field and he’s looking for somebody and who he is looking for is clearly E.J.,” Eric Levenberry said. “He comes up to E.J. and punches E.J. in the jaw. A grown man clocked my 16-year-old son in the jaw. My son hit him back in self-defense.”
Watching a video of the fracas, it is unclear whether the person in question punched E.J. Levenberry, though he is seen pushing Hylton players before a melee ensued on the field.
Once order was restored several minutes later, Hylton’s players boarded a bus and returned to their Woodbridge school. Prince William County police also came to the school.
“They came over and watched the video and interviewed witnesses,” Eric Levenberry said.
A Prince William police spokesman said the incident is being investigated, though no arrests have been made.
“We don’t know everything yet,” Potomac Athletic Director Bill Stearns said. “They were in line shaking hands and something happened. It seemed more like a lot of pushing, shoving, talking, but it was just spreading around.
“There were some incidents that took place off on the sides, but right now we don’t have the numbers.”
Stearns said he planned to meet Monday with Hylton Athletic Director Sal Colangelo, a Potomac graduate and former assistant to Stearns.
Stearns said that the crowd had thinned considerably by game’s end because of the nasty weather conditions, which worked in the schools’ favor because there were fewer spectators to get involved in the incident. But that thinned crowd could also hinder the investigation, Stearns said, because there will not be as much videotaped footage available from students’ phones as there would have been otherwise.
“Those things are ugly,” Stearns said. “There’s nothing else to say about it. They’re ugly and more people get involved than need to get involved and it escalates. It was a close game and it was a very well-played game and [the incident] is unfortunate because that’s what everybody remembers at the end.”
“I believe the authorities in Prince William County will deal with this situation appropriately,” Eric Levenberry said. “What is paramount to me as a parent is the safety of my son.”
E.J. Levenberry, who is 6 feet 4 and 230 pounds, is considered one of the Washington area’s top high school football prospects. Only a junior, he has been offered scholarships by many of the nation’s top college programs.
It is at least the second time this year that there has been an incident at an athletic event between Potomac and Hylton.
On Jan. 7, a boys’ basketball game at Hylton was suspended in the third quarter when a fight broke out near the concession stand. It did not involve the two teams. The game was completed two-and-a-half weeks later.
Hylton Athletic Director Sal Colangelo and Hylton football coach Tony Lilly previously worked at Potomac.