Youth Coach Faces Assault Charges After Hitting Referee With Football

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A Massachusetts youth football coach is facing one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon after he struck a referee in the chest with a football. 

The assault happened Sunday at a 14-and-under Pop Warner game between the Malden Cyclones and the Mattapan Patriots. 

According to WCVB, which spoke with witnesses, the referee, 66-year-old Tom Abruzzese, made a call made a call that Mattapan Patriots coach, identified as 55-year-old Dana Jones, disagreed with. The play involved helmet-to-helmet contact between two opposing players. 

Emotions escalated after the call. 

"This went from 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds," Abruzzese said. "The person who identified as the head coach was doing the most swearing."

Abruzzese eventually ejected the coach, and that's when Jones threw a football, striking Abruzzese in the chest. 

"They kicked me out of the game. I grabbed the ball and — just mad and out of frustration — just whipped the ball, and it happened to hit one of the referees," Jones said in a phone interview with NewsCenter 5.

"I felt this impact to my chest. I staggered backwards to the point where the (emergency medical technician) started to treat me," Abruzzese said.

Abruzzese went down to one knee and was shaken up but not seriously injured. 

Malden police officers arrested Jones on the charge of assault and batter with a deadly weapon on a person over the age of 60. 

"I wasn't trying to hurt nobody. I wasn't trying to hit nobody. I was just pissed off. I just threw the ball," Jones said.

"On behalf of all officials, I want this man prosecuted to the full extent of the law," Abruzzese said.

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