The defensive back comes charging in full-speed, knocking his blindsided target to the ground. A teammate follows moments later by diving in helmet-first. These kinds of bone-crushing hits often land the players involved on football highlight reels. But this time, they could land the players in jail. The reason: They didn’t level an opposing high school player, but a game official.
No arrests had been made as of Monday, yet the Police Department in Marble Falls, Texas, said in a statement that it is investigating the incident and the two players in question. While they await their fate legally, the pair from San Antonio’s John Jay High School have already paid a price.
It started during the Friday night game itself, when both were ejected. The two have since been suspended from the Mustangs team and from school, according to Stan Laing, the executive director for athletics in the Northside Independent School District that includes John Jay and 11 other San Antonio-area high schools. The district plans to address the matter more fully Tuesday, when schools reopen after the Labor Day holiday.
Pascual Gonzalez, the chief spokesman for Northside schools, said this will include interviewing game officials, coaches and students about the matter. This investigation is being done in conjunction with the University Interscholastic League, which oversees athletics in Texas public schools. “It is not the good sportsmanlike behavior that we teach students,” Gonzalez said. “… Northside ISD will not tolerate this kind of behavior.”
Gonzalez referenced video of the incident, one of which went viral after being posted online. It had more than 6 million views by Tuesday morning.
The video was recorded in the fourth quarter of the game between John Jay and Marble Falls high schools after two John Jay players, including its starting quarterback, had been ejected, according to CNN affiliate KSAT. The video shows what otherwise seems like an innocuous running play — except if you look well behind the play.
That’s where a John Jay safety lined up and sprinted seven yards into the back of the game official. The hat of the pin-striped official, who had been looking forward, flies off as he plummets to the ground. That’s when the second player comes in, piling on the official.
Marble Falls police note that videos show the incident “from the several different angles.” The authorities also suggest this was no accident. “Two players from John Jay High School targeted one of the game officials and blindsided him,” police said, “knocking him to the ground.”
The incident also caught the attention of the NFL Referees Association. “These types of actions against any game official at any level are inexcusable,” said Jim Quirk, the group’s executive director. “We fully support the suspensions of the players involved, along with a full and complete investigation by the Texas University Interscholastic League.”