Crime

Rec-league football coach stabbed during Turkey Bowl

A youth-league football coach was stabbed when a coach for the same team pulled a knife as the pair fought on the sidelines during a game Monday night, Dodge County authorities said.

The two were coaching a team of 7- and 8-year-olds from neighboring Wheeler County against some boys from Telfair County in the annual Turkey Bowl in Eastman.

“One of (the Wheeler) kids came over and said he was tired and wanted to come out. The coach who was stabbed told him the game was almost over and to go back in,” Dodge Sheriff Lynn Sheffield told The Telegraph on Tuesday.

“The other coach took issue with that and said, ‘I’m tired of your crap.’”

Coach Christopher McDowell, 31, of Alamo, was stabbed in his left side. He was treated at an area hospital and later released.

The other coach, Kerry E. Williams, 29, of McRae, was jailed on an aggravated assault charge, the sheriff said.

Both men were cited for fighting.

The incident happened about 8:30 p.m. on a field at the Eastman-Dodge County Recreation Department, a couple of miles northeast of downtown Eastman, along the Dublin Highway.

Monday night when the fracas began, Travis Niblett, the county’s recreation director, was near a concession stand helping coordinate the 22-team tournament.

“I just heard a bunch of commotion,” Niblett said. “Everybody was hollering, ‘Travis, get out there!’”

Niblett rushed to separate the coaches and latched on to the one who’d been cut. Niblett said he saw the other coach trying to get in a car and leave.

“It may not have been smart, but I grabbed him and pretty much restrained him till the sheriff showed up,” Niblett said.

He said McDowell and Williams were two of the Wheeler team’s three coaches.

“Those guys had coached the whole tournament and done fine,” Niblett said.

“We take every precaution we can. ... I don’t want parents and children to be scared off by this.”

The game between Telfair and Wheeler was for third place in the Turkey Bowl. When order was restored, play resumed.

Niblett said parents and officials decided “the idiots are gone, let’s play ball.”

Telfair won by a touchdown or so.

“To be honest,” Niblett said, “I don’t remember the score.”

To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.

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