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Parents of Ar-Ken players get citations at youth football game

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Friday, Sept. 3, 2004

LOWER BURRELL -- Four people were cited for disorderly conduct last weekend after allegedly fighting during a youth football league game.

The Ar-Ken and Lower Burrell Flyers leagues were playing at Asa Speck Field on Route 56 in Lower Burrell when four parents allegedly were involved in an argument with an Ar-Ken coach and each other, according to court documents.

All four adults are parents of Ar-Ken football players and the dispute reportedly did not involved anyone associated with the Lower Burrell league.

Lower Burrell police cited James Anton Garland Sr., age unavailable, and Alice Garland, 29, both of Third Avenue, Arnold; Bobbi Jo Eckman, 31, of Kenneth Avenue, Arnold; and Justina Jackson, 34, of Riverside Drive, Arnold.

All were charged with a summary count of disorderly conduct for allegedly engaging in "fighting or threatening or in a violent tumultuous behavior."

According to citations filed by Lower Burrell Police Officer Kenneth Smail, James Garland argued with Ar-Ken football coach William Eckman during a game Saturday afternoon. Eckman, 35, of Ridge Avenue, New Kensington, reportedly was on the field at the time.

Garland's wife, Alice, Bobbi Jo Eckman and Jackson reportedly then got entangled in the argument.

Jackson alleges the Garlands were fighting with the coach and she stepped to get them to stop.

"I just wanted all the yelling and swearing to stop because it was in the middle of the game and some of the kids were crying," Jackson said.

Jackson said she didn't know what prompted the initial argument.

"Everything happened so fast," she said.

Jackson claims Bobbi Jo Eckman, wife of Ar-Ken's head football coach Jason Eckman, took issue with Jackson getting involved.

According to Bobbi Jo Eckman's citation, she "took off her glasses and stated 'Come on, you wanna do this,'" to Jackson. Smail writes that Bobbi Jo Eckman's husband grabbed her and "held her back."

Both Jackson and Alice Garland are accused of hitting Bobbi Jo Eckman.

James Garland was asked to leave the game by the football commission, according to his citation.

William Eckman, the coach involved in the argument, declined to comment Thursday night.

"We discussed this at the Ar-Ken board and decided it's been handled," he said.

A message left for Bobbi Jo and Jason Eckman was not returned, nor was a message left with Flyers head coach Dave Twidwell.

The number listed for the Garlands was disconnected.



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