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Durango-Desert Oasis game suspended after fight between players

Updated October 11, 2019 - 10:43 pm

The Durango-Desert Oasis football game was suspended early in the second quarter after a fight broke out between several players Friday night at Durango High School.

With the score tied 7-7 and 9:09 remaining in the second quarter of the Trailblazers’ homecoming game, players scuffled on the Durango sideline after a Desert Oasis kick return. About a dozen players were involved as coaches on both sides scrambled to keep their benches under control. No fans appeared to be involved in the melee.

After a 10-minute conference by officials, the game was declared “suspended” pending review by the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association. A call late Friday to an NIAA official wasn’t answered.

Head referee Chris Welley said he had no comment as officials left the field, but both coaches gave their views of what happened.

“They jumped one of our kids with five of their kids, then they just called the game,” Durango coach Toby Henry said.

Diamondbacks coach Mike Ovens was baffled.

“There was supposedly an altercation on their sideline,” Ovens said. “Some players left the bench, and three players got to the hash marks. I don’t know if it’s a tie or what. I’ve never seen this before.”

Both teams watched in disbelief and appeared reluctant to leave the field as school officials frantically launched the homecoming parade. Players and coaches meandered between floats while attempting to find anyone willing to provide an explanation to the game’s abrupt ending.

The “bench-clearing brawl,” which was what game officials called the fight when notifying coaches of the suspension, marred a close game in which Desert Oasis took a first-quarter lead when Tyler Stott connected with William Jordan for a 40-yard touchdown pass.

Durango quarterback Ryan Cabase tied the score early in the second quarter with a 2-yard TD run. The ensuing kickoff then resulted in the game-ending altercation.

Seven penalties had been assessed before the fight, but only one was for unsportsmanlike conduct and there was no obvious evidence of growing animosity among players.

Durango entered the Southwest League game 3-4 and 2-1. Desert Oasis was 4-2 and 1-1.

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