Friday night’s senior night football game between Indio (Palm Desert, Calif.) and Desert Hot Springs (Calif.) high schools was canceled due to an unsafe environment when an on-field melee broke out following the freshman game between the two schools.
Indio principal Derrick Lawson made the decision to cancel the varsity game when even after the field was cleared, the heated exchange spilled over into the parking lot and perimeter of the field after adults got involved.
“We still had a crowd out in front of the entrance and the crowd was not letting the issue resolve and we did not want to have any of our students in jeopardy,” Lawson said. “Bottom line, we wanted to be safe for all of our kids and we didn’t want this to escalate or continue.”
Video circulating on social media shows a fight erupting in the north end zone with players from both sides involved. Approximately 30 players were part of the fracas. Coaches and adults joined the fray to try to stop it. But the bad blood carried on even after the on-field brawl was over.
It was senior night for Indio High School and the final game of the season for both teams.
As you might imagine, the news was devastating to the seniors who were ready to play the final game of their high school career.
Indio senior quarterback Aubuchon Martinez took us through the moment he found out and the emotions that went with it.
“Well we were in line ready to walk out for our senior night, and they announced that the game was canceled so I walked over to our coaches and asked what happened and why can’t we play,” Martinez said. “They said it was out of their control so I walked down to the field and threw my helmet out of anger because I honestly didn’t know what to feel. After all the work I’ve put in these four years to just end on that was heartbreaking.
“My team and fellow seniors didn’t deserve this. We weren’t even a part of the fight at all. We were just in the locker room getting ready for the game, but I mean everything happens for a reason, and I’m sure it’s all bigger than just football,” Martinez said. “I’m just heartbroken that this was supposed to be the last time I ever played football again and that was robbed from me. I’ve been in tears day-dreaming about everything I was gonna do tonight. It was supposed to be the best game I’ve ever had, and all I wanted was to leave my mark.”