GAITHERSBURG, Md. — A Montgomery County football coach is accused of not only hitting another employee, but failing to de-escalate a large brawl between players, according to court documents obtained by WUSA9.
A criminal summons for Travis Hawkins, the head football coach for Northwest High School, said he struck William Gant, the Gaithersburg High School athletic director, in the head and shoulder from the side during a football game between both schools on Friday night. Gant filed the complaint against Hawkins with the District Court of Maryland for Montgomery County on Monday for misdemeanor second degree assault. Gant alleged Hawkins was "aggressively going towards" him and one of his players.
"I stepped in front to prevent him from our player and he struck me, snapping my head back," Gant said in the application for statement of charges. "As that happened, I was struck in the head and shoulder from the side by another person. The man was later identified by Northwest H.S. athletics specialist to be the head football coach, Travis Hawkins."
Gant added after reviewing several videos of the incident, Hawkins did not appear to de-escalate the situation on the field. The brawl stemmed from a fight between players on the field and grew as additional players joined in.
"In my 25 years of coaching and athletic director, he looked to be escalating the issue," Gant said in the citizens complaint. "We (myself and other coaches) were attempting to stop it."
A preliminary inquiry has been scheduled for Nov. 7, where Hawkins will be served with the complaint and handed a trial date. Prior to that there is a three-day window in which Gant would need to consult with the State’s Attorney’s office to decide whether he wants to move forward with the case.
WUSA9 requested comment from Gant and Hawkins, but had not heard back at the time of publication. A spokesperson for Montgomery County Public Schools said it is a criminal matter and asked WUSA9 to seek comment from the police or litigants instead.
Gaithersburg Police said the situation sparked more fights off the field, injuring an officer and a staff member.
Police arrested five people including four juveniles. They were charged with assault, while a 19-year-old man from Germantown, Maryland, was charged with second-degree assault, mutual affray, disorderly conduct, intoxicated endanger, and failure to obey a lawful order.
The school district also took action, as a result of the fight. MCPS and the two high schools agreed to suspend football operations temporarily to assist in the ongoing investigation. MCPS said in a press release the district "strongly condemns the abhorrent and unacceptable behavior that occurred at the football game last night."
MCPS is expected to discuss enhanced security measures for athletic events on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.