SAN ANTONIO — On Friday evening, a competitive high school football game between San Antonio John Jay and Marble Falls was waning into the fourth quarter when a specific play made the game more than just a contest between two non-district opponents, but an “incident [that] is extremely disturbing, not the sportsmanlike behavior we teach students at Northside ISD,” NISD spokesman Pascual Gonzalez told KENS5-TV (San Antonio,TX.) on Sunday.
As the game pressed on, two Jay players were ejected earlier in the contest due to a few unsportsmanlike penalties the referee crew’s head umpire felt was so unnecessary that he ejected them.
One of the players was star quarterback Moses Reynolds, who also dabs into wide receiver when needed. The other player has yet to be identified.
The game was neck-and-neck in the fourth quarter, when it appears in the video below that Jay’s free safety, No. 12, seemed to intentionally attack the referee crew’s head umpire from behind. As soon as No. 12 knocked him down, No. 81— strong safety opposite of No. 12 — barreled into the referee as he laid there on the turf.
As soon as the play ended, and the referee gathered himself, he ejected No. 12, but ejected No. 7, who had not been involved in the hits on the referee, but came over to the referee after the play. No. 81, who was the second player to hit the referee remained in the game.
The umpire asked TexasHSFootball.com not to release his name, but according to the Austin American-Statesman his name is Robert Watts. Watts is a 14-year veteran who spoke with Ronald Oswalt of TexasHSFootball.com and said, “I like to keep my officiating quiet; unfortunately this will be big news.”
He then went on to say, “Libel and slander have already been committed against me. I will be contacting the appropriate people soon and any statement from me will come at a later date.”
The NISD is complying with the University Interscholastic League — the governing body of all athletic contests for public schools — to get to the bottom of the story. They need all the facts, witnesses and their accounts of the events that took place during the ill play.
A number of questions were asked on social media, but the most notable was the following: Did Jay’s head coach have anything to do with the hits on the referee, or was it the high emotions of the two players that motivated them to act in the way they did?
Marble Falls coach Matt Green said after his team won the contest 15-9, that Jay coach Gary Gutierrez apologized on behalf of the players. Green also said that no coach would ask that his players would intentionally target a referee.
Upon hearing the tragic news, the executive secretary of the Austin Officials Association, Wayne Elliott, seemed outraged at what the two players had done to one of its loyal officials.
“The first thing that we want is that those two kids never play football again,” Elliot said to the Associated Press.
As of right now, the two players have been suspended from the team, pending an investigation from Northside ISD officials and the UIL.
“We are cooperating fully with the University Interscholastic League with this investigation,” Gonzalez, said.
The NISD Athletic Director Steve Laing believes his staff needs to do its best to cooperate with the UIL, but also receive all accounts from eyewitnesses, fellow players, the other members of the referee crew and anyone else that has additional information before making a decision.
“We have to be very careful with what we say until we get the entire story,” Laing told, WFAA-TV. “It’s really unfortunate. We’re still getting stories on different things. That’s whey we’ve got to make sure to get the entire story before we basically share it with everybody, because we don’t want anything out there to be assumed. We want to be very clear on exactly what happened.”
The UIL released a statement via its Twitter account Sunday regarding the incident:
UIL statement concerning actions in San Antonio Jay football game: pic.twitter.com/QhPH8rskzc
— Texas UIL (@uiltexas) September 6, 2015
Now this isn’t the first time a high school player knocked down a referee. In 2008, the Euless Trinity Trojans were playing the Allen Eagles in a Class 5A playoff game. After Allen busted a big run downfield, a Trinity player argued to the umpire that he was being held. The referee did not respond to the Trojan. Then this happened.
As of now, our staff doesn’t know what happened to the Trinity player, what his consequences during the game were, if he was kicked off the team or not, or if he was suspended from the school.