Youth football coach accused of punching players during on-field brawl

Coach arrested on child abuse charges

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – A youth football coach was arrested for punching three players from an opposing team during an on-field brawl during a game on Saturday, according to the New Smyrna Beach Police Department.

Officers were called to the New Smyrna Beach Sports Complex around 3:45 p.m. and were met by parents who said they were concerned about a fight involving the Middleburg Broncos and the New Smyrna Beach Barracudas football team, an arrest report said.

The parents said that players from both teams got into an argument during the last play of the game and it turned physical. Police said that Larry Shawn Cruce, known as Coach Shawn for the Middleburg Broncos, got involved in the melee and hit multiple players from the Barracudas.

"I don't know why an adult would do that to somebody else's child," said Charmaine Winter, the mother of a player who was hit. "Their team was winning so I don't understand why they were so mad."

Cruce punched one player in the face as the boy was taking his mask off, punched another player in the face and throat and also hit a third player, according to the affidavit. One boy suffered a small cut below his right eye, but the other two victims did not suffer any injuries, police said.

Coaches from the Barracudas said all the coaches from the Broncos ran on field during the fight and that Cruce got "so out of hand" that parents of the Broncos players had to physically remove him from the squabble, according to the affidavit.

Winter said she saw Cruce lift her 12-year-old son's helmet and punch him.

"A fight broke out because they didn't have good sportsmanship," Omahari Meeks, Winter's son, said.

Meeks said some of his teammates were shoving Cruce's son and believes Cruce retaliated.

Cruce was arrested on three counts of child abuse without great bodily harm. He has since bonded out of the Volusia County Jail. 

Information about the ages of the players was redacted from the report.

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