Most of the country may have been witness to clean, cooperative football from both players and fans over the weekend, but that wasn’t the case for a game in Syracuse and another in the Los Angeles area.
The first incident occurred in upstate New York, where a junior varsity football game was marred by ugly fan interference. As reported by the Syracuse Post-Standard, the junior varsity game between West Genessee and Corcoran was briefly halted when a scuffle between the teams broke out. The incident was apparently sparked by a late Corcoran hit which sent the West Genessee player tumbling to the sidelines.
Yet, it wasn’t the player altercation that worried authorities. Rather, it was the involvement of fans, who climbed over the fence and vocally berated players on the running track that surrounds the field. Luckily, the players who were targeted by the abuse refused to interact with the encroaching parents, but the adult involvement was still enough to require a local police investigation into the incident.
The varsity game between the two schools, which took place on Friday, was also adjusted to mitigate any chance of repeated violence. Kick-off was moved up by an hour, the game’s halftime was shortened and city officials added extra security forces to police the game.
At least hat varsity contest was completed as scheduled, which is more than one can say about what unfolded in California. During the contest between L.A.-area rivals North Torrance and Inglewood, an ugly on-field brawl led to the complete halting of the game in the final minute of the third quarter.
According to the Torrance Daily Breeze, the benches clearing skirmish between the sides was sparked by a late hit to an Inglewood player. Both teams ran on to the field to defend their teammates, and in the subsequent aftermath officials decided it was safer to call off the remainder of the game rather than play it out. North Torrance led 21-14 when the game was halted.
There is no word yet about how the contest will be called, though it’s likely that both teams will be issued an official forfeit. The premature ending was just the latest chapter in an unusually eventful and odd night in Torrance, where the homestanding Torrance North squad also had to switch jerseys in the third period, eschewing their dark home uniforms for baby blue tops after one of the field’s light stands went out.
“This is the most bizarre game I’ve ever seen,” Inglewood coach Jason Miller told the Daily Breeze. “I think it’s unfortunate. I know coach Croce runs a class program. We’ve competed against each other since 2001. I just think that it was a hard-fought game and guys on both sides just let their tempers get the best of them.”
The biggest question now may be whether either team is capable of fielding a team this Friday. California Interscholastic Federation rules require any player who leaves the sideline during an on-field incident to be ejected, as they were in the Inglewood-North Torrance fracas. Any player ejected from a game is immediately ruled ineligible for the following week. Both coaches have voiced their support for leniency, though they may be advised to spend a significant portion of practice time working with junior varsity players to be elevated, just in case.