SANDWICH, Mass. (AP) — Prosecutors said Thursday they will seek criminal charges against nine high school football players for a hazing in which a freshman was slammed to the ground and suffered a ruptured spleen.

The players were accused of tormenting 14-year-old teammate Garrett Watterson before a Sept. 14 football practice at Sandwich High. They face charges of assault and battery and hazing, prosecutors said.

Watterson was hurt after a varsity player grabbed his ankles from behind and lifted his legs into the air during an event the boy's mother said was known as "Freshman Beat Down Day," according to authorities. He had to have his spleen removed.

After the incident, Sandwich High forfeited its Friday night game and suspended the nine players indefinitely.