Local high school football team facing fallout after alleged hazing incident

LAWRENCE COUNTY, Pa. — A hazing investigation has led to severe consequences for the Mohawk Warriors football team. All practices, games and events for both the varsity and junior varsity teams are “inactive” and on hold until at least Aug. 28 while the Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office investigates the hazing allegations. That means Friday’s first home game against Union is also canceled.

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On Tuesday, the football team’s pictures were canceled. The young men were visibly absent as the band and cheerleaders came to get their pictures taken. A “Meet the Warriors’ event was also canceled.

Mohawk parents tell me they’re angry, disgusted and deserve to know the truth about what happened on the football team as the district attorney’s office looks into possible “unlawful activity.”

“Everybody has a right to know,” Lisa Hairhoger says. “My daughters go to this school, and I don’t want anything happening to them. You only hear parts of it. You don’t know. I don’t know actually what happened.”

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Channel 11 has contacted the Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office repeatedly about their investigation into hazing on the team, but our calls and emails haven’t been returned. Parents tell Channel 11 the allegations are heinous.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Hairhoger adds.

“I’m a little bit sad, upset,” mom Randie McClellan adds. “I know I would never want anything like that to happen to my kids. They’re all in sports.”

Channel 11 talked to head football coach Tim McCutcheon on the phone. He shared this statement, but wasn’t able to comment on the investigation:

“There are so many rumors right now. I have no plans to step down from coaching the football team.”

When asked about the fate of the season, the coach added, “The ADs (assistant directors) are going to make that call. I am honestly not sure. That’s all I can say.”

Parents say the many kids who did nothing wrong and have worked hard all summer, now might have to sit out a season.

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“I think it’s sad they can’t play football,” McClellan added. “The cheerleaders can’t cheer because there’s no team to cheer for. I think it’s crazy.”

“Just try to keep your heads up and god bless (you all) because I never had to put up with this stuff. And it’s a shame,” Hairhoger added.

Here’s the statement the Mohawk Area School District superintendent, Dr. Michael Leitera, sent Channel 11:

“The Junior Varsity and Varsity Football Program will remain inactive until at least Sunday, August 28, 2022. This includes all activities and games, both Junior Varsity and Varsity. The investigation into alleged misconduct involving the High School Football Team is ongoing. The District is still working with law enforcement and the District Administration continues its own investigation. Because this matter involves minor students and matters protected by student confidentiality, the District will not be providing additional details while the investigation is pending. Conducting a thorough investigation and prioritizing student safety remains the District’s highest priorities. A statement will be forthcoming when the investigation has been completed and the District would be appreciative if there is understanding and patience as the investigative process is being conducted.”

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