Fort kept its cool during ‘foot-brawl’

TOM PERRY The Marietta Times Fort Frye’s Tate Engle (12) looks to pass as teammate Garrett Lochary (7) blocks during Friday’s Division VI, Region 23 semifinal at Don Drumm Stadum.

Fort Frye won the game and also benefited from a “foot-brawl” incident.

Late in the third quarter with the Cadets leading Barnesville, 33-12, Fort senior Casey Lewis tackled Shamrock senior running back Caide Bunfill — and that’s when all heck broke out.

“He (Bunfill) caught a screen (pass from BHS quarterback Matthew Burkhart) and I tackled him, like you’re supposed to (around the lower legs/ankles),” said the 5-foot-11, 178-pound Lewis after FFHS defeated Barnesville, 40-19, in an Ohio Division VI regional semifinal football game at Don Drumm Stadium Friday night.

“He’s a big boy (6-foot, 205 pounds),” Lewis continued. “I wanted to make sure I got him down, because he likes to stiff arm. And, he just started fighting with me. I just laid there. I didn’t retaliate.”

While Lewis was getting pounded by Bunfill, several other Shamrock players joined the fracas.

“All I was trying to do was get some of those guys off of Casey,” said Fort Frye safety Colton Sampson. “Then, the next thing I know, I’m getting beat on by number 8 (BHS tight end Kaelan Hannahs).”

Added Lewis, “That guy tackled (Sampson) and started a fight with him.”

With all of the protective gear that football players wear, it’s actually kind of amusing to see them punch someone. Bunfill and Hannahs were probably fortunate that they didn’t break a hand, hitting a helmet or something.

Anyways, the foot-brawl probably had its origins at the 8:35 mark of the second quarter when Lewis made a similar tackle of Bunfill. There was nothing dirty about it, but the big guy from Barnesville appeared to be in agony and didn’t get up right away. In fact, time was called, and the Shamrock senior had to be assisted off the field.

Bunfill did not return to the action, and Fort led 19-12 at halftime.

At the start of the third quarter, Bunfill could be seen jogging off the field on the sideline, and sitting on a stationary bike. To his credit, he returned to the action, sore ankle and all, and not long after that, he was tackled by Lewis.

Mind you, now, Lewis made a clean tackle of Bunfill.

But apparently, the Barnesville RB was still feeling a little sensitive around the ankle area.

When order was finally restored by the officials, both Bunfill and Hannahs were ejected from the game. Sadder still, an irate fan, presumably from Barnesville, went on the field by the end zone, and removed and tossed a pylon. That’s when security was called.

After play was finally resumed, Barnesville was penalized two 15-yarders, which put the ball on the BHS 15, where Lewis eventually scored on a 9-yard touchdown run. The TD was Lewis’ fourth of the game. And, he also threw for one score.

During the postgame celebration, FFHS head coach Eric Huck addressed the third-quarter incident, and singled out his team for praise — and for keeping its cool.

“I think Barnesville just got frustrated and I was happy to see our players keep their heads and stay in the game — and not overreact,” Huck said. “That’s the way we want to be represented, and they did a good job.”

Ron Johnston is a Marietta Times sports writer, and can be reached at (740)373-2121, x534, or at