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Dunedin, East Lake fighting penalties

Six players serve mandatory two-game suspensions - and may face more - after an incident during their game.

LAURA LEE
Published January 16, 2004

The district tournaments are a few weeks away, and Dunedin and East Lake are waiting to see if they'll have any of the six players who were ejected after an incident Monday.

Three from each team were ejected for violent conduct, county athletic director Walter Weller said. As he understood the official's report, there was a fight.

The players who were ejected must serve mandatory two-game suspensions. The Florida High School Athletic Association will determine if the players will be fined or serve longer suspensions. Each player could face up to a $250 fine and a six-week suspension.

Dunedin has appealed based on the assertion two of the ejected players weren't in the game at the time of the incident and on the severity of the penalty. East Lake also has appealed.

"If the kids did something wrong, they should be punished," Dunedin athletic director Tom Brittain said, adding he wanted to make sure the punishment fit.

Both coaches, Dunedin's Gerald Clemente and East Lake's Frank Coorey, do not think it was a fight. Coorey said he didn't see any punches thrown. Clemente said there was no violence. But there is no tape to prove either point of view.

According to the coaches, East Lake was leading 2-1 very late in the game. The Eagles tapped in a corner kick and shielded the ball in the corner, trying to run time off the clock. Dunedin tried to get possession.

What happened next is disputed. Coorey said Dunedin players started aggressively slide tackling and pushing their way to the ball. Clemente said his players were trying to get a foot on it, and soon a group of players fell to the ground "like bowling pins."

"It got heated for a minute," Coorey said, "The next thing you knew, it was over."

East Lake had to sit Chris Cheredar, Kyle Lindquist and Chris Zachary in Wednesday's 5-0 loss to Palm Harbor. Unless there is word from the FHSAA, the three will miss tonight's game against Seminole. The Eagles also lost Ray Zayas, who dislocated his shoulder and injured his back in the incident.

Dunedin is without Daniel Weber, Vladimir Petricevic and Karsen Brown. Clemente said neither Weber or Petricevic was on the field. The Falcons lost 4-0 to Countryside on Wednesday and play at Northeast today.

The coaches said they hope to get word from the FHSAA soon. Dunedin has a major district game against Clearwater next week. And Coorey said he hopes his seniors, Cheredar and Zachary, don't have to end their careers this way.

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