Assault charge dropped against Howard Co. football coach

December 03, 2013|By Luke Lavoie,

The assault charge brought by a parent from a rival high school against a Howard County assistant football coach was dropped in Howard County District Court Tuesday.

The charge was brought by Shane Snyder, the father of Mt. Hebron quarterback Jake Snyder, and alleged that Centennial assistant coach Matt Winger, of Columbia, pushed his son Jake to the ground during an on-field altercation between the teams at a Sept. 21 game. 

After the game, Jake was diagnosed with a broken wrist, which ended his 2013 season. 

According to Winger's defense attorney Michael DeHaven, the charge was dropped after the Howard County State's Attorney's office determined there was not enough evidence to prosecute Winger.

DeHaven applauded the State's Attorney's office for conducting a thorough investigation, stating that did "an excellent job."

"The folks I talked to did not witness my client do anything that was any type of an assault," said DeHaven. 

Included in the witnesses DeHaven said he interviewed was a Howard County police officer who attended the game. 

Winger and a Mt. Hebron assistant coach went on to the field to intervene after a fight broke out among players at the end of the first quarter. The fight started when two players, who were shoving each other after a play, threw punches.

The two assistant coaches and two players from each team were ejected. 

In an interview with The Howard County Times following the incident, Winger said he remembers pulling a player off the pile but that it was not Snyder. 

Winger was suspended from contact with the team for the remainder of the season. 

DeHaven said he hopes this closes the book on the incident, and that Winger would like to get back to coaching.

"He would love to continue coaching, whether he does or not, I don't know," said DeHaven. "He made a spontaneous decision to break up a fight and the next thing you know he is accused of crime."

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