The senior night football game between the Indio (Palm Desert, Calif.) and Desert Hot Springs (Calif). high school varsity teams was cancelled after a brawl took place during the freshman game.
Joan Boiko, a spokesperson for Palm Springs Unified School District, told KESQ that threats from parents made staff believe another game between the schools would not be safe.
According to the Desert Sun, adults exacerbated the incident as they continued arguing off the field and into the parking lot.
Indio principal Derrick Lawson made the decision to cancel the game after consulting with both schools’ athletic directors and a Desert Hot Springs assistant principal, the Desert Sun reported.
He said adults were causing more problems than the kids.
“I hated to do it, but once you have adults involved and people are angry on both sides when you have that kind of environment,” Lawson said to the Desert Sun. “A lot of rhetoric (was) going on. Don’t know who started it or who was involved, but I needed to get both teams away from any kind of hostility or anger or repercussions.”
Desert Hot Springs athletic director Kai Lyles told KESQ that the fight started when Indio players continue to hit a Desert Hot Springs player who had been tackled during game action.
About 30 players were involved, according to the Desert Sun.
Spokespeople from both districts confirmed to KESQ that the fight involved players while coaches tried to break it up, but one player said otherwise.
Freshman Indio player Johnny Vargas told KESQ that a Desert Hot Springs coach hit him.
“I went on the field to pull off my teammate, he swung at my brother, so I hit him and he took off my helmet and starting hitting me, kicked me on the floor,” Vargas said to the station.
Lyles was unsure if any coaches hit players, though he did tell KESQ that an Indio player hit a Desert Hot Springs coach.
Boiko told KESQ that a coach got hit with a helmet.