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high school football:

NEWS & NOTES

If a Tree Falls...

What if they played a game and no one came? It nearly happened Thursday when host Forestville and Fairmont Heights played before approximately 20 fans in a game which, because of an ugly incident following Wednesday's junior varsity football game between the schools, was for all intents and purposes invitation-only.

Forestville officials decided to limit entry to Thursday's game to adults and media, barring students from attending. The start of the game was moved from 3:45 p.m. to 2 p.m.

"It was done as a precaution," said Owen Johnson, director of athletics for Prince George's County Public Schools.

Citing a report he received from Fairmont Heights officials, Johnson said a Forestville junior varsity assistant coach, identified by Forestville Coach Michael Mayo as Ralph Thomas, allegedly hit a fan who had been heckling the Knights while they were huddling after the game. Johnson said the fan was not a student at either school.

Thomas said yesterday he punched the fan in self-defense after the heckler verbally threatened Thomas, then moved toward him in a manner Thomas perceived as threatening.

"I don't know what his intentions were," said Thomas, 25, a volunteer coach in his first season at Forestville. "I had to look out for myself. I don't know what he could have done."

According to a Prince George's police spokesman, Thomas and the fan had left school property by the time officers arrived. The spokesman said the fan later returned and had minor injuries, but did not require medical attention. The spokesman said that an investigation is continuing and that no charges have been filed against Thomas.

Thomas, who was not a full-time employee of the school system, was dismissed on Thursday by Forestville Principal Deborah Hall Williams.

"That kind of behavior is just unacceptable from any adult and particularly a person that is in a capacity as a [coach] and role model," Johnson said. "There is no excuse, no explanation."

As for the varsity game, the 20 fans who witnessed it saw a good one. Fairmont held on to win, 14-12, when a field goal attempt of 29 yards went wide left with eight seconds remaining.

-- Josh Barr

H.D. Woodson

Led by Slaugther

H.D. Woodson Coach Greg Fuller said yesterday that there is no quarterback controversy at the Northeast school despite backup quarterback John Slaugther's performance in the Warriors' 53-14 victory over Phelps.

Slaugther, thrust into the starting lineup after starter Maurice Moore injured his throwing hand at practice Wednesday, completed 6 of 11 passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns for the Warriors (7-0 overall, 3-0 DCIAA).

"My philosophy is that a starter does not lose his job because of an injury," Fuller said, adding he expects Moore, who will see a doctor Monday, to play next week. "As soon as Moore comes back, the job is his -- no question."

-- Jon Gallo

WORTH QUOTING

"We were in and out more times than a yo-yo."

-- Hylton Coach Bill Brown, commenting on a series of lightning flashes that forced his team and Gar-Field on and off the field a few times before the game last night was finally suspended.

BY THE NUMBERS

43

Yards of total offense allowed by Paul VI in its 42-0 win over Falls Church, the third shutout of the season for the Panthers.

300

Rushing yards by Edison's Cedric Bryant on 30 carries in the Eagles' 42-26 victory over Stuart.