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High School Football Fans on the Myles Garrett Incident: 'Kids Are Watching'

photo of Nordonia stadium
Many fans who came to see Hoban battle Mayfield in the Division II regional semifinal on Friday at Nordonia's Boliantz Stadium say the Myles Garrett incident at the end of the Nov. 14 Browns-Steelers game was unsportsmanlike. Hoban won 21-17.

High School football fans spent the weekend taking in playoff games in Northeast Ohio.  And at the one at Nordonia’s Boliantz Stadium, people were also talking about the violent end of the Browns-Steelers game – and its possible impact on the game and student athletes.

Archbishop Hoban beat Mayfield in the Division II regional semifinal on Friday – just hours after the NFL indefinitely suspended Browns’ Defensive End Myles Garrett for an altercation with Steelers’ Quarterback Mason Rudolph.

Mark Grams from Northfield says the suspension is appropriate for an NFL player, but he’s still not sure of the message it sends to student athletes.

“I’m still trying to put my arms around it. [It’s] crazy. Never seen anything like that before. Kids are watching that stuff: apology’s fine, but it’s like – this can’t happen again. What do you? I don’t really know what to do.”

The influence on kids is what concerns parents like Rich Parisi from Macedonia, who says if anything like it happened at the high school level, “well, they’re kids – they’re not adults – but something needs to happen even to them.  You can’t let violence rule the day.”

Doug Woods was cheering on his son, starting safety for the Wildcats. He says they had watched the Browns game with several other Mayfield players, who were perplexed by what they saw.

“They go, ‘wow, something went wrong.  Myles lost his mind.’  I told them, ‘play good – don’t play like that – play solid football between the whistle.’ And that’s what they have to do.”

Woods believes the incident has reignited the Browns-Steelers rivalry to the level it was when he grew up in the 1980s.

The two teams play again – in Pittsburgh – on December 1.

Hoban – looking for a fifth state title -- takes on undefeated Massillon in the Division II regional final on Friday.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.