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High school is all political. It's all who you know and how much you donate or if daddies coaching.
Its from lack of real skill/talent. Players hit and fight for the clapping that goes with it. If they don't have skill and finesse to draw a big oooh and aww from the crowd they do it with goon tactics instead! You definitely don't see it as much in prep school. It's not allowed and kids are smart enough not to risk an injury. Same in Europe, who also rely more on skill than cavemen mentality.