SUWANEE -- Moments after Collins Hill High School students rushed the home football turf of rival Peachtree Ridge on Friday night, a brawl involving about 150 students broke out, requiring a response of more than 20 police officers and Sheriff's Department deputies to restore the peace, police said.
Despite the dust-up's magnitude, no arrests were documented, only one person was hospitalized, and rumors of a stabbing and subsequent brawl at a nearby McDonald's appear to be unfounded, authorities said Monday.
As officers arrived at the chaotic scene near a student parking lot, they reportedly found 150 students either actively fighting or watching.
When police would squelch one fight, another would start a few yards away. One officer reported being punched in the back of his head but was not seriously injured; an 18-year-old male was transported to an area hospital with a knee injury, said Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith.
Responding police "are assuming that these kids were probably all students at one school or another," Smith said. "I don't have anything that (suggests) it was a school-versus-school fight."
School officials said standard precautions for any big rivalry game -- extra police, additional administrators, detailed plans for ushering teams on and off the field -- were in place long before the Collins Hill Eagles rolled over the Lions 41-10. Smith said five officers worked the game as a side job.
"In spite of these types of plans, we did experience a few fan-related issues," said Gwinnett Public Schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach. "These types of incidents are a concern for us."
Full stadiums and tense atmospheres are par for the course when the Eagles and Lions square off. The rivalry was created when Peachtree Ridge opened in 2003, taking students from the Collins Hill cluster. The air was especially charged Friday, after Peachtree Ridge had won on a last-second touchdown last year. Though a PA announcer warned against it, the Collins Hill student body rushed the field when the final whistle was blown about 9:45 p.m.
Two officers noticed students bolting up a hill to the parking lot and followed them. Upon seeing the crowd, they called for back-up, and deputies listening on the same radio channel also responded, Smith said.
Rumors permeated message boards that someone had been stabbed in a related event off-campus, but Smith said police records indicate that did not happen. Officers did respond to reports of a fight at a nearby Waffle House at 11:30 p.m. but found no active fighting among the more than 40 Collins Hill fans who'd spilled there from the game, Smith said.
Smith said police records show no arrests were made, though its possible juveniles were held and turned over to parents. A parent called police the next day to report her son had been "jumped" at the school, but no report was filed, Smith said.
Roach said school resource officers made no arrests, but she'd received information that two juveniles may have been arrested.
"If they verify there were indeed students who were involved in fighting, that is something administrators will follow up on" for disciplinary purposes, Roach said.
Education reporter Frank Reddy and sports writer Brandon Brigman contributed to this report.