Fight-marred football game double forfeit, district rules


The Clark County School District and the Southern Nevada Officials Association have ruled last week's football game between Bonanza and Western a double forfeit.

The game was stopped in the third quarter with Bonanza leading 20-0 after several fights broke out on the field.

SNOA commissioner Marc Ratner said a game is a forfeit any time three or more players are ejected for fighting.

Seven Western players and five Bonanza players have been suspended for their team's game today. Bonanza visits Bishop Gorman, and Western is at Sierra Vista.

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association earlier this week turned the decision on the outcome of the game and any penalties to be assessed over to the school district and the SNOA.

Ratner said coming to the decision was difficult because of lack of video evidence. Neither Western nor Bonanza had film of the incident.

"The major problem was real simple: Neither Bonanza or Western had any definitive video," Ratner said. "We had one parent's video that didn't show the Western sideline."

Ratner said the evidence didn't show a bench-clearing brawl. He said the video they had did not show evidence of Western players coming onto the field. It did show the Bonanza sideline clearly.

"Most of the Bonanza players stayed close to their bench or on the sideline," Ratner said. "But there were several fights going on."

Ratner said jersey numbers of the players involved in the fights were difficult to make out on the video, so the SNOA and Clark County School District had to rely on officials' reports. He said they also talked to coaches and other representatives from both schools.

"You try to do what's right," Ratner said. "We didn't have a complete set of information."

Ratner said he didn't see evidence of what precipitated the incident. He said the game didn't appear to be overly physical and that the fights broke out quickly.

"It happened. It was like a flash fire, and that's part of the consequences," Ratner said. "It's a good learning lesson.

"We've had very few of these incidents, and nobody's happy. We're not happy. We don't want to take any games away from anybody, but there has to be a penalty, and this is what it is."

 

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