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Troopers called in over N.J. high school football game brawls

WHITEHALL, N.Y. - A melee erupted on the sideline of a high school football game on Saturday, with the visiting team's coach accusing a home team assistant coach of choking a player, bringing the game to an early end. State police were called to ensure order as the teams and fans left the field.

The Glens Falls Post-Star reported the Class D game between Whitehall and Rensselaer was halted with six minutes remaining in the third quarter, with Whitehall leading 28-6. A Whitehall player had just been ejected for a personal foul.

The game had gotten increasingly rough since a second-quarter brawl that nearly cleared the benches. The brawl erupted after Whitehall quarterback Justin Hoagland was taken down out of bounds.

The ensuing maelstrom between players and coaches from both teams led to a prolonged, angry exchange between coaches and officials before things calmed down.

"It got ugly quick," Whitehall head coach Justin Culligan told the newspaper. "We saw some things that they did. They probably saw some things that we did. I'm not going to blame either side. Both sides were at fault."

Rensselaer coach Joel Preston accused a Whitehall assistant coach of pinning and choking one of his players during the melee in the second quarter. Whitehall's athletic director, Keith Redmond, said he and head coach Justin Culligan looked at videotape but he couldn't see anything.

A referee called the contest at Redmond's suggestion. Section II football chairman Bob Dorrance said the Whitehall victory stands because the game was called for safety reasons.

There were no arrests and no injuries reported after the game in Whitehall, 65 miles northeast of Albany, the state capital.

Meanwhile, fights and stabbings followed two high school football games in as many days on Long Island, although police said the violence didn't appear to stem from the games.

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