• A player from Waco University holds down Burleson's Jagger Gower during a game on Sept. 13. The photo is taken from a screen shot of video taken during the game.

Targeting of Burleson player being investigated

Incidents during Burleson’s freshman football game with Waco University Sept. 13 have drawn statewide attention and an investigation from the University Interscholastic League, the governing body for Texas high school athletics.

A video shows University players apparently targeting Burleson’s Jagger Gower on a number of occasions during special teams plays.

In one video, a University player tackled Gower then appears to hit and choke Gower while he is on the ground. Gower's head is also repeatedly banged on the turf during the incident.

Coaches from both schools went on the field to break up the altercation but the University player was already walking off the field.

The University player was ejected from the game and missed the first half of the team’s next game. That is the UIL’s minimum penalty following an ejection.

Burleson ISD executive director of communications Mikala Hill sent an emailed statement on the incident.

“We are shocked that this incident happened to one of our players. As it unfolded, everyone observing was momentarily stunned. Our coaches quickly ran onto the field to intervene on behalf of our player. The BHS athletic coordinator and the BISD athletic director both protested the incident with Waco ISD officials. Waco ISD assured our administrators that it would address this matter appropriately, and UIL is investigating this incident.

In another video, the same player from University appears to tackle Gower then after he let go another University player pushes Gower to the ground. In a third video, another University player blindsides Gower on the back end of a play.

Gower’s mother, Jennifer Gower said her son suffered a concussion that could sideline him for several weeks, according to a story posted by Fox 4 News.

Burleson ISD athletic director Phil Anderson said that the District 5-5A executive committee will meet early next week in Midlothian to discuss the incident.

“The UIL said we have to meet first then we have to determine whether we want more discipline or no discipline or move it to the state executive committee,” Anderson said. “That’s what our charge is.”

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