A junior college referee reportedly threw a punch and a clipboard at East Mississippi Community College coach Buddy Stephens during the Lions' 48-24 homecoming win over Itawamba Community College on Saturday.
The altercation began early in the fourth quarter, according to the Meridian Star. Both the official and Stephens voluntarily left the field area rather than being ejected, and Stephens finished coaching from the press box, per the report.
WCBI-TV sports director Robby Donoho witnessed the incident from the sideline, and described it in detail via Twitter. According to Donoho, the altercation began when Stephens and the official got into a disagreement about EMCC staffers standing on or too close to the field. After being pushed, Stephens went onto the field and pushed the official back before the official threw a punch with his left hand, grazing Stephens, and threw a clipboard at him, Donoho reported.
Two EMCC players were ejected from the game, per the Meridian Star.
"It was a disagreement between me and the referee. I handled it wrong and he did too and we will move on," Stephens told the Meridian Star. "We lost composure and that is my responsibility. I will take blame for it. They just told me to leave so we can get the game moving forward. ... We just lost our composure as a team and that cannot happen. I can't throw rocks and stones. You can be intense, but you have to know when to stop yourself."