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story.lead_photo.caption Kevin Lea, The head football coach at Cedarville High School, is shown in this photo.

CEDARVILLE -- The head football coach at Cedarville High School won't coach his team tonight when it plays Marshall.

Kevin Lea, 36, was arrested Wednesday on several preliminary charges, including inciting a riot and endangering the welfare of a minor.

The misdemeanor charges stem from an altercation after Cedarville played Elkins on Oct. 16 in Elkins. Two Elkins police officers suffered minor injuries in the fracas that ensued after one of them tried to escort Lea off the field following a fight between the teams' players during the final minutes of the game.

Cedarville Superintendent Dan Foreman wouldn't say Thursday whether Lea has been suspended from his job.

"That's personnel matter and I can't comment on that," Foreman said.

The superintendent said he is investigating what happened after the game. Foreman said he hadn't had a chance to read the police report or watch any videos from the game.

"We're still investigating the situation," he said. "He's our head football coach, Kevin Lea."

Foreman said assistant coach Max Washausen will coach Cedarville tonight. Washausen is also the special teams coordinator and defensive coach.

Lea was booked into the Washington County jail Wednesday and released after posting $8,800 in bonds. He is scheduled to appear in Elkins District Court on Dec. 1. Formal charges should be filed by then. Preliminary charges also include harassment, failure to disperse and obstructing governmental operations.

Sgt. Troy Reed, an Elkins police officer, said in a police report that the fight among players resulted in a penalty against Cedarville for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Lea began screaming and cursing at the referees, according to Reed's narrative in the report. Referees then signaled the end of the game, and Elkins was declared the winner, 16-6.

Lea then yelled at Elkins Coach Thurman Shaw, using curse words before and after a reference to Shaw being "black."

Shaw and his players left the field after being asked to go, according to the report.

Lea walked back onto the field with his players while still yelling. School resource officer James Todd asked Lea to leave and take his players with him, according to the report. Todd said he reached for Lea's left elbow to escort him off the field, according to the report.

Todd said Lea shoved him, cursed him and said, "I'm not going" and "don't touch me," according to the report.

"Lea swung his arms to keep me from grabbing him," according to Todd. "I was then surrounded by Cedarville football players, being shoved and taunted."

Elkins fans saw what was happening on the field and many left the stands to help the police, according to Reed in the report.

Todd was struck in his lower back, but he continued to tell Lea and his players to leave the field. Reed had a "busted upper lip" from either a helmet or shoulder pad, according to the report. The injuries to the police officers were the only injuries reported, said Elkins Police Chief Bill Rhodes.

Lea's players eventually pulled him away, according to the report.

At some point, police called other agencies for help. Elkins police decided not to arrest Lea on Oct. 16 because the arrest could have sparked a "more serious altercation," according to the report. Rhodes said the crowds were separated by the time officers arrived from the Washington County sheriff's office, West Fork, Springdale and Arkansas State Police.

The Cedarville School Board had its regular meeting Thursday night, but Lea wasn't discussed.

Outside the school, sixth-grade boys practiced football as parents watched from the parking lot. A reporter asked half a dozen of them what they thought about the Oct. 16 football game or the coach getting arrested. All of them said either they didn't know about it or they didn't care.

Sports on 10/23/2015

Print Headline: Cedarville school investigating football coach's arrest

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Comments

  • Capitalist12
    October 23, 2015 at 5:46 a.m.

    This seems an overreaction by police. Referees got this started by giving Elkins the game. Naturally, any coach would be astounded and upset by such unusual and draconian action. Then the police charge this coach with inciting a riot? Have they ever been in a real riot or even seen footage of one? That was no riot, unless you consider every play a 'riot."
    This is hometown Elkins police lackeys confusing sports with real life. From the referees to the police, this whole incident appears to be a hometown set up.

  • Nodmcm
    October 23, 2015 at 6:39 a.m.

    Look, what is the point of having local police, if you can't use them to arrest visiting coaches who curse your coach? We're in Arkansas, for cryin' out loud, not some even-steven northern state, where a city or town cannot use their police forces as they choose, to punish visiting coaches who get out of line. Plus, the cops in Elkins are probably pretty bored, what with all of the traffic being shunted out on the interstate now, leaving them no one to pull over. Maybe this is the start of something new, where coaches from visiting teams will regularly be arrested by the home-team constabulary. I wonder what would have happened had Coach Lea had his Cedarville police officers, and perhaps a few state troopers from the Cedarville area, over on his side? Maybe someday we will see a shootout between opposing teams' police departments. Maybe coaches need to take some of their local cops to their away games, just in case. Note that college coaches, like Coach Bielema, always have a few Arkansas state troopers with them, just in case. Coach Bielema does not leave his safety up to, for example, the Alabama state police when he is playing a game in Tuscaloosa.

  • Delta2
    October 23, 2015 at 7:21 a.m.

    Local police escorts to out of town high school games...Nodmcm, don't joke about that, it will give them a "great" idea.

  • Vickie55
    October 23, 2015 at 8:21 a.m.

    I am surprised that the coach and his players assaulted two police officers and this is only a misdemeanor charge??? Cap, you sound like one of the parents at a Little League game who is only concerned with your little darling being given preferential treatment.

  • Pacorabone
    October 23, 2015 at 9:50 a.m.

    Man oh man.. This "coach" if that's what you could call him.. And some of you commenting sound like that group who never got a "participation" trophy. A TRUE coach displays character on and off the field. The refs called this game because after the fight among the players this so called coach started showing his lack of character. If you guys want a trophy for "participating" go buy yourself one and have your own ceremony. As for real sports.. Character is respect. Respect of players, respect of officials and most of all.. Self respect... This guy should be fired and all players who participated in this taunting and intimidating of officials should be sent packing with the "coach." What a sad sad situation..

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