The Annandale (Va.) football team completed a 1-9 season with a 55-14 loss to South County (Lorton, Va.) last Friday, but the Atoms' disappointing performance on the field was overshadowed by an ugly incident involving head coach Mike Scott and the school's marching band.
According to an editorial in the A-Blast, Annandale's student newspaper, Scott interrupted the band's performance before halftime was over.
"Coach Mike Scott and a few other coaches as well as some players began yelling at the band and Band Director Adam Hilkert to 'get the band off the field.,'" the editorial reads, in part. "According to the game clock, we had about 4:30 left and halftime wasn’t over. The screams from the fans and coaches became more intense, and Coach Scott resorted to his own measures by shaking the podium of junior Assistant Drum Major Douglas Nguyen, and then yelling at the other Assistant Drum Major, senior Noah Wolfenstein, to stop conducting and get off the field. Yells came from the stands and the coaches to the press box and the field."
You can watch part of the performance here:
Scott, whose team trailed 35-7 at the half, was reportedly concerned that the Atoms would be assessed a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty if the band did not get off the field. The band ended its halftime performance early and finished after the game.
"I was really disappointed that we couldn't finish our senior night show," James Barker, who co-wrote the editorial, told NBCWashington.com. "I just felt like… Coach Scott just took away our last big moment for high school for marching band."
Ananandale Principal Vincent J. Randazzo sent a letter to parents Thursday regarding the incident. The letter reads, in part:
I am extremely concerned and dismayed with how this situation was handled by the participants. We have been following up with all of the parties involved and will take whatever appropriate action is deemed necessary. Coach Scott has offered to apologize to the band members for his actions, which I believe is a necessary first step. I did meet with our Marching Atoms following the game and told them how proud the entire Annandale community is of their accomplishments this year and how they embody all that is great about Annandale High School. At that time, I apologized to the students for the interruption of their halftime performance honoring their seniors.
In their editorial, Barker and Megan Ryan made it clear that they did not blame the football players for Friday's incident.
"Under the direction of Coach Scott, the football team has won one game throughout their 2013 season while the band received Virginia State Champions and won a National award for their “III-Open” class, (which is the hardest competition division). And all the while, the band stands proud with the football team through every loss and through every win. Since when has administration asked the football team to support the band by going to a competition, whether we win or lose?"
Thanks to the Washington Post for bringing this story to our attention.