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'It's time for me to speak' | Northwest head football coach breaks silence after brawl between two Montgomery County high schools

Travis Hawkins tweeted out his emotional journey since the massive brawl. “I’ve been left in the dark wondering when I’ll get back to coaching my kid."

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — A Montgomery County high school football coach, who was on the field when a brawl between two high schools broke out, spoke weeks after being accused of hitting another employee, and new strict safety rules were implemented for spectators.

On Sept. 16, a fight broke out on the field among players between Gaithersburg and Northwestern high schools, resulting in the game being called. The school board showed one minute and 15 seconds left on the clock in the third quarter when the game concluded. 

As spectators were leaving off the field, another altercation erupted among police and spectators, which led to four juveniles and a 19-year-old facing charges. Three people, including a police officer and a school staff, were assaulted with injuries that were considered non-life threatening. Police dispersed the crowd and one person who was found with a knife was taken into custody.

On Monday, Oct. 10, Travis Hawkins, the head coach of Northwest High School, tweeted out his emotional journey since the massive brawl. “I’ve been left in the dark wondering when I’ll get back to coaching my kids,” Hawkins said in a social media post on Twitter. “For the time in my life, I’ve been stripped away from something that has been an outlet to me.”

Last month, on Sept. 19, William Grant filed a complaint against Hawkins with the District of Maryland for Montgomery County for misdemeanor and second-degree assault. Grant alleged Hawkins was “aggressively going towards” him and one of his players. A criminal summons for Hawkins said he struck a Gaithersburg High school athletic director in the head and shoulder from the side during the football game.

Hawkins tweeted, “Something that at times I felt was the only thing that loved me the way I loved it. I’ve been trying to protect my mental health; some days are a lot harder than others." Hawkins said he remains respectful throughout the investigation process, however, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. It’s time for me to speak.”

A day after the massive brawl, Montgomery County Public Schools suspended football operations temporarily for Northwest and Gaithersburg high schools. On Sept. 21, Superintendent Monifa B. McKnight held a meeting to discuss how the district will enhance security measures for athletic events days after the brawl between two football teams. 

The new restrictions for spectators at Montgomery County high school football games include that any school-age child who does not attend one of the two schools competing in the game will be accompanied by an adult. Students from the competing schools will have to show their student ID or printed schedule at the gate.


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