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Ridgeville man faces charge of hitting ref at pee wee game


NORTH RIDGEVILLE — A pee wee football coach wanted a penalty. He got a mug shot and a court date instead after getting into an on-field fight with a referee, police said.

Mark Klanac, 26, of North Ridgeville, was coaching his team about 9:30 a.m. Sept. 8 in  Frontier Park when he became outraged that a referee didn’t call a penalty, so he struck the referee in the back of the head, police said.

The referee, Randall Grass, 40, of Avon Lake, responded by turning and punching Klanac in the head, North Ridgeville police Sgt. Vince Abt said.


The game was stopped, and parents and coaches had to separate the two men.

“Both (Klanac) and (Grass) were very cooperative,” Abt said. “They appeared very remorseful for what had occurred.”The referee was not injured and declined to press assault charges, according to police.

Klanac was charged with disorderly conduct and was to appear today in North Ridgeville Mayor’s Court. He suffered a slight contusion to the side of his head from the referee’s punch, Abt said.

The North Ridgeville Football League’s pee wee division has players between the ages of 6 to 8. The city has no involvement with the league other than to allow the league to use Frontier Park for its games.

Mayor David Gillock said that the league had expelled the coach and suspended the referee for the rest of the year.
Neither Klanac nor Grass could be reached for comment.

Contact Stephen Szucs at 336-4016 or

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