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NIAA punishes Canyon Springs, Basic football teams after brawl

Updated September 19, 2017 - 7:43 pm

The Canyon Springs-Basic high school football game that ended with a brawl will be declared a double forfeit, the NIAA announced Tuesday.

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association also ruled that each team must forfeit its next game.

The fight broke out on the field after the Friday night game at Basic, and Clark County School District police used pepper spray to break it up.

The NIAA cited a rule that states if “three or more members of a team engage in a physical altercation, the team is guilty of committing an unsportsmanlike act and must incur a forfeit.”

The activities association, in consultation with school district administrators and police, ruled both teams were guilty.

“Adults failed in their responsibility to enforce the rules and regulations of the NIAA and the mission of education-based activities,” the NIAA said in a statement. “This was a high school football game. The high school game is an extension of the classroom, and regrettably the adult, based on their actions, fostered an environment that is not reflective of the mission of the NIAA’s member schools.”

Basic coach Jeff Cahill said he understood the decision.

“Those are the rules, so we will accept the punishment, learn from it and move forward,” he said.

Canyon Springs coach Gus McNair, whose team won 20-15, did not return a message seeking comment.

The fight garnered national attention after a CCSD police officer was filmed using pepper spray on players and staff members to break up the fight. CCSD spokeswoman Melinda Malone identified the officer as Sgt. Robert Valdez, a 19-year employee of the department. Valdez isn’t being investigated, according to officials.

”This fight was escalating quickly, and the school police sergeant used appropriate measures to prevent potential serious injury to students and staff,” CCSD police chief James Ketsaa said in a statement.

Silverado was scheduled to play Canyon Springs and Valley was to meet Basic on Saturday, so Silverado and Valley will be credited with victories by forfeit. But Valley will host Silverado at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Vikings coach Quincy Burts said.

Referees assessed 39 penalties during Friday’s game, including 19 personal fouls. Four Canyon Springs players were ejected in the second half, including star quarterback/running back DiaMante Burton.

By rule, the four ejected players would have been forced to sit out the team’s next game. Whether Saturday’s forfeit will satisfy that requirement was unknown.

Review-Journal reporter Meghin Delaney contributed to this story. Contact Justin Emerson at jemerson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2944. Follow @J15Emerson on Twitter.

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