Posted: 6:09 pm Thursday, July 17th, 2008
By Jason Lieser
An adidas representative said Thursday Pahokee remains invited to defend its championship at the national 7-on-7 passing tournament later this month.
Booker T. Washington, meanwhile, decided to withdraw, the spokesman said.
The two schools brawled after Washington beat Pahokee in the Nike South Florida 7-on-7 passing tournament Saturday. Washington coach Earl Tillman suffered a broken leg in the fight, and is awaiting surgery at Memorial Hospital in Miramar.
Tillman confirmed his team’s withdrawal, and said he will address the matter publicly at a later time.
Both schools will meet in late August at the Miami Sports Kickoff Classic, sponsored by Nike, which is a series of pre-season games. Pahokee and Washington will play separate out-of-state opponents, but events are planned that will bring all six competing schools together.
Nike said Monday Pahokee and Washington remain invited to the Kickoff Classic, provided they take part in a sportsmanship conference. Each school will have its own meeting.
The teams were fortunate to stay in the Nike event, slated fro Aug. 29 and 30 at Traz Powell Stadium. All six participating schools will receive a $15,000 donation from the Miami-Dade Sports Commission and two $2,500 scholarships from Nike.
The melee in Miramar began immediately after Washington beat Pahokee 22-21 on a last-second touchdown and two-point conversion Saturday. Both head coaches said they will handle any discipline internally, and both blame the other school for instigating the brawl.
Aside from that, Pahokee coach Blaze Thompson has declined comment. He said he will not address the situation publicly at any time.
Washington won the adidas regional tournament in Orlando earlier this month, and Pahokee was the runner-up, qualifying both for the national championship in Atlanta scheduled for July 30. Pahokee won the championship in Los Angeles last season.
The FHSAA expressed concern over the incident between the two schools, but said discipline is left at each school’s discretion because the brawl took place at an event that was not sanctioned by the FHSAA.