Six Glendale (Arizona) Deer Valley football players, all of whom will be sophomores this fall, have left the school after a fight that occurred in May.
Five of the players, including standout quarterback Will Haskell Jr., are transferring to Glendale Ironwood, which is in their attendance boundaries. The sixth player, according to Haskell’s father, is going to Phoenix Greenway.
Haskell, who played five games on varsity last season before an injury, is ranked as the No. 7 overall prospect in the state in his class by azcentral sports.
The moves came after a fight on the eve of the May 19 spring football game and barbecue that ended up being canceled, the elder Haskell, Will Sr., said.
First-year coach Dan Friedman held a team meeting that Saturday, instead, Haskell said.
Two players, who are twins, were involved in a fight with a non-football player over shoes that the non-football player alleged were stolen from him, according to the mother of the football twins.
She said all three boys served school suspensions.
It escalated at Foothills Recreation Aquatics Center near the Deer Valley campus.
According to the Glendale Parks and Recreation Department incident report, dated May 18, that was obtained by azcentral sports, “3 fights broke out inside the activity room all at once.”
The report said everyone involved in the fight, some of whom were bleeding, fled before names could be taken.
“A few parents had concerns, because kids heard some threats,” the elder Haskell said.
Deer Valley Athletic Director Scott Warner said in an email that no safety issues were reported to the administration before the boys transferred.
“We do not have an incident report for the off-campus incident,” Warner added.
Asked about the safety concerns raised by the parents of the players transferring, Friedman said in a text message, “No comment.”
Ironwood football coach Ian Curtis said in an email that hardship appeals will be filed for the five players with the Arizona Interscholastic Association with hopes that none of them will have to miss the first half of the football season.
In hardship cases, the AIA committee needs documented proof that a reason for the transfer was from a situation that was unforeseen, unavoidable or unable to correct.
Haskell Sr., said there was nothing personal against Friedman.
“From our point, we just want it to be perfectly clear that Will Jr., and the kids did not transfer for any other reason other than for safety concerns,” Haskell Sr., said. “Why have our kids in a situation that we have no idea what could be plotted next?
“We didn’t feel safe anymore. I didn’t trust the situation anymore. So we left.”
Warner said, “We wish those boys well and hope they can be happy with their new team.”