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Postgame brawl between City and Digital Harbor football teams could affect City-Poly matchup

City and Poly are scheduled to renew their historic football rivalry for the 131st time Saturday. However, a fight between City and Digital Harbor last Friday could leave City a bit shorthanded because of player suspensions.

After Digital Harbor’s 20-18 win, players from both teams were involved in a lengthy brawl with several punches thrown and helmets swung.

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A video of the fight was widely circulated on Twitter (Warning: explicit language). It’s unclear if there was any police response to the brawl.

City athletic director Rolynda Contee was disappointed in the postgame actions of the players. She said that the Black Knights might need to fill out their roster with players called up from the junior varsity for their biggest game of the season.

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“The fight itself was very disappointing for the team, disappointing for the program, disappointing for the school,” Contee said. “We’re still trying to not let that hinder anything. We still haven’t come to a final decision on how we’re going to handle everything, but it will be consequences that haven’t yet been discussed as of now.

“We should be able to bounce back from it. We’re not going to let that one isolated incident destroy the reputation of the program and the school.”

City coach Michael Hamilton said disciplinary action for players was expected to be completed Wednesday and that he did not want to comment until after he had a clearer picture of the fallout from the fight.

Baltimore City Public Schools’ athletic guidelines stipulate that a student, coach or bench personnel who is ejected from a game for fighting, unsportsmanlike conduct or behavior detrimental to the game will be suspended for the subsequent contest. Because the fight occurred after the conclusion of the game, it is unclear what penalties will be levied against individual players or the program.

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“Right now, we’re just looking at individuals and then we’ll see if we can still have enough left to play,” Contee said. “We may have to move [players] up from JV and once we figure out the players who will be suspended, we’ll know exactly what we’ll have left.”

City (4-4 overall, 1-4 Baltimore City) began the season 3-0 with victories over Patterson, Douglass and Forest Park but has since lost to Mervo, Edmondson and Digital Harbor. City defeated Reginald F. Lewis on Oct. 12.

Poly athletic director Phillip Thompson declined to comment about the possible repercussions from the fight for the rival Black Knights. He preferred to talk about the impending matchup for his Engineers.

“My students are very excited,” Thompson said. “I think that they know exactly what’s at stake and they know pretty much it’s bragging rights, in addition to the tradition and history behind it. They don’t want to be on the wrong side of history. I’m excited, they’re excited and at the end of the day. It’s on them to execute on Saturday.”

City and Poly (2-6, 1-4) will play Saturday at 1 p.m. at Morgan State’s Hughes Stadium.

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