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Incident between Hamburg, Annville-Cleona HS football players prompts police investigation

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 05:17:38 AM CST
Updated On: Sep 10 2013 06:19:46 PM CDT

A Hamburg High School football player, ejected from Friday night's game, may now face charges for hitting an opposing player over the head with a helmet, police said Tuesday.

SOUTH ANNVILLE TWP., Pa. -

Hamburg Area High School's starting quarterback, who was ejected from Friday night's game, may now face charges for hitting an opposing player over the head with a helmet, police said Tuesday.

Chief Ben Sutcliffe, South Annville Twp. Police Dept., told 69 News he has opened an investigation after reviewing video of the fight between the Hamburg player and an Annville-Cleona High School player during the third quarter of the game in Lebanon County.

The investigation could lead to charges being filed against Hamburg senior Joe Cominsky, who was captured on video ripping the helmet off Josh Hartman, an Annville-Cleona player, and hitting him twice over the head, police said.

"It looked nasty. I'm not gonna lie. It looked pretty nasty to me, but it just took the words right out of my mouth honestly," said Aryton Miller, a senior at Hamburg.

Hartman, who suffered a cut to his head, was treated by a trainer.

Cominsky was ejected from the game, along with an Annville-Cleona player, when a scuffle ensued after the fight.

Chief Sutcliffe said he consulted with the district attorney's office, and there is enough evidence to open an investigation, which will determine what charges, if any, could be filed.

Some students, and one of Cominsky's teammates, believed the situation is being blown out of proportion. They said Annville-Cleona played dirty the entire game, and they were holding onto Cominsky's leg. The standout tore his ACL last year, and was out the entire season.

"We're trying to just keep this and solve this ourselves," said the football player, who did not want to be named.

The Hamburg Area School District is also considering disciplinary action against Cominsky, said Steven Keifer, the district's superintendent, who declined to elaborate on specifics because of the student being a minor.

"It's a very unfortunate situation," Keifer said. "We are following guidelines from PIAA and our school's policy to make sure we handle disciplinary action properly.  We hope a lot of people learn lessons from this incident."

Both Cominsky and the opposing player will serve a one-game suspension for being ejected. According to PIAA District 3, that is standard practice.

Cominsky's parents told 69 News they are in talks with an attorney.