By Willa Moffatt,
Several Davis High football players faced disciplinary action after DHS and Monterey Trail players were ejected toward the end of a Nov. 6 game when a fight broke out on the field. Although student discipline is confidential, DJUSD Public Information Officer Maria Clayton confirmed that the incident is still under investigation.
Sophomore and free safety Jack Hoal said he was one of several suspended players, and did not agree with the punishment. “I feel that it was a sports-related incident where teammates were protecting each other,” he said.
The fight, which Clayton said involved more than three dozen players from both teams, took place at DHS’ last home football game. After the traditional Senior Night ceremony, the Blue Devils took to the field against the visiting Mustangs.
The game was tight, and tensions between the two teams came to a head in the last minutes of the game.
“Before the fight broke out I saw one of my teammates get punched so I ran over to separate them and then the benches cleared and I walked away,” said tight end and junior Tucker Fisk.
Though the fight was quickly controlled by coaches, referees, administrators and security personnel, it had lasting repercussions.
“Any time that this type of incident happens it is serious,” Lorenson said. “Athletics is a very emotionally-charged time for players and coaches; however, it is the standard of DSHS athletic programs to act appropriately at all times.”
Fisk suggested that the charged atmosphere of the game may have contributed to the fight.
“The tensions were high the whole game,” Fisk said. “At the end of the game there was a little disagreement between a few players, and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
Lorenson said neither team was directly at fault.
“Both schools have responsibility in this incident,” he said. “We will take this opportunity to learn and grow from our decisions.”
Clayton said the DHS coaching staff and athletic department traveled to Monterey Trail soon after the game to meet with Mustang coaches and staff.
“Those meetings were extremely productive for debriefing the incident and for ensuring the teams can move ahead in a positive fashion,” she said.
Though Fisk is not proud of the fight, he does feel it revealed a type of heart in the Blue Devils.
“I think it also showed that our football team has the attitude we need. Obviously getting into a fight isn’t a good thing, but it showed a level of toughness that we hadn’t displayed before. Now we need to learn to redirect that into the framework of the game,” he said.
Both football programs are working to use the incident as an opportunity to instill values of good sportsmanship and appropriate conduct in their teams, and school athletics in general.
Specifically, the DHS football team invited the Monterey Trail team to join them in a workshop from the Positive Coaching Alliance called the Triple-Impact Competitor, which is a program that Clayton said “aims to create athletes who work to improve themselves, their teammates and the game as a whole.”
Mustang football coach TJ Ewing said his team was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict, but said that “we will be working with our league and CIF to address our concerns.”