Nate Harris charged after allegedly knocking out 7th grader on opposing team

3:56 PM, Oct 10, 2012   |    comments
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By Kimberly Nelson

Payson, UT (KTVX/CNN) - A volunteer little league football coach is charged with child abuse after allegedly knocking out a seventh grader on his son's opposing team.

The score was tied in the last regular game of the season. Payson City League's star half-back had the ball and was running down Mapleton's sideline when it appears as though a man stepped out onto the field holding out his arm, taking down the 13-year-old player.

"Our boy had the ball, the seventh grader had the ball and he was running toward out of bounds, he wasn't even out of bounds. The coach was standing off to the side and just cocked back and cold clocked him with his hands," said assistant cheerleading coach Nicole Clements.

Here's how the referee remembers it. He says the player was running out of bounds.

"The Mapleton coach was standing there. He had plenty of time to move and he didn't, he just raised his arms and just kind of struck a blow back at the Payson player," said referee David Durrant.

In or out of bounds, those who saw it say it was intentional.

"It looked malicious to me, but I don't know if it was premeditated but it certainly looked intentional to hit a kid," said Durrant.

"There's no concern for the well-being of the child. He doesn't walk over to see if he's all right. He doesn't show concern or anything. He just backs away from him and stands there," said Detective Sergeant Lance Smith.

The hit is so hard the player suffered a concussion.

Nate Harris was ejected from the game and was later arrested and charged with second-degree felony child abuse.

"I was really saddened that a grown adult could do this to a little boy, a little boy," said Clements.

After Harris was ejected, the game continued and Payson won by a field goal in overtime, but by then no one is celebrating.

"As we had the overtime coin toss, I asked the kids if they were having fun and none of them were and so that was a really, a big disappointment to me," said Durrant.

An attorney for Harris told local media his client never crossed the line onto the playing field.

Police say Harris did not give them a statement at the request of his attorney, so haven't heard his side of the story.

He's been released from jail on bond.


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