HAMBURG, Pa. - A routine high school football game quickly escalated into a violent incident and now police are involved.
Investigators are reviewing footage from Friday night's game between Hamburg and Annville-Cleona in Lebanon County. That video is causing quite the stir in Hamburg.
"Oh, did he take his helmet off? (Yes) Oh, he hit the kid's bare skull? (Yes) Oh my god, I did not know that," said Hamburg resident Brock Willard.
Willard is reacting to Hamburg starting quarterback Joe Cominsky ripping off an opposing player's helmet and then hitting him twice in the head. Community members in Hamburg say they are not surprised this happened.
"Feelings get all wound up and tensions build when you are playing a game like that. So no, I am not surprised," said Hamburg resident Brian MacArthur.
Others in the community heard Cominsky may have been provoked.
"Whether it was retaliatory or just an accidental loss of anger, I do not know. There has been a rumor that, as the way my children put it, it was not for nothing," said Hamburg resident Blake Kramer.
People we spoke with in Hamburg say Cominsky should be punished for his action, but they do not believe he should face criminal charges.
"Suspend him. Take disciplinary action through the team and maybe community service or a fine, something like that as far as criminal punishment goes," said MacArthur.
"Certainly I feel there should be some repercussion for it because it was pretty far outside of the norm. I do not know if I would say he should never be able to play sports again," said Kramer.
And they say unfortunately, he made a mistake like many people do.
"I think kids make stupid decisions all the time. We have all been there at one point or another," said MacArthur.
But South Annville Township Police see it differently. Although the victim, Josh Hartman, walked away from the incident with minor injuries, police have opened an investigation into the incident.
Both players were ejected from the game and will serve a one-game suspension.
The Hamburg superintendent would not say if further disciplinary action will be taken.
Allentown, PA 18102