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Two Bishop Amat football players accuse rival coach of assault; police investigating

Two Bishop Amat football players allege they were physically assaulted by Damien High School football coaches at a game Friday evening — and now head football coach Matt Bechtel has been suspended.

Aiden Ramos, a 19-year-old running back for Bishop Amat Memorial High School, alleges that the Damien High head football coach, along with another coach, ripped his helmet off his head and grabbed his shoulder pads, after he and the coaches exchanged heated words after a tense rivalry game Friday.

Bechtel could not be reached Monday, and a front desk operator for Damien High School referred The Times to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for comment.

Ramos’ dad, Jesse Ramos, told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune that the altercation left his son with a bruise under his left eye, and that a police report was filed Saturday morning with the La Verne Police Department.

On Saturday, a second Bishop Amat football player — who asked to remain anonymous — filed a police report with the La Verne Police Department, The Times has confirmed.

In a statement Saturday, La Verne Police Chief Colleen Flores said her department was investigating a battery at the Damien High versus Bishop Amos football game.

“A 19-year-old Bishop Amat student alleges two subjects battered him, and at least one of the subjects involved is a Damien High School Football Team coach,” the statement read. “The La Verne Police Department is actively investigating the incident, and no further details are available at this time.”

In a separate statement released Saturday, the archdiocese said that it had launched an internal investigation, and that one of the Damien High School coaches involved in the incident had been placed on leave. The statement did not specify which of the coaches was suspended, but sources confirmed to The Times it was Bechtel.

“The Archdiocese has been advised that a report has been made with the La Verne Police Department concerning the incident,” the statement read. “According to Archdiocesan policy, the person named in the report has been placed on administrative leave pending the result of the investigations of the police department and the Archdiocese.”

Damien High and Bishop Amat athletic directors Jeff Grant and Joe Hoggatt, respectively, could not be reached for comment.

Tensions rose Friday evening after a victorious 35-7 win by Bishop Amat against its longtime rival, when Bishop Amat head coach Steve Haggerty refused to shake Bechtel’s hand after the game. Sources told The Times Bechtel confronted Haggerty and it wasn’t long before players and coaches began to attack one another.

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