Texas high school players suspended, may face charges for hitting referee from behind

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

MARBLE FALLS, Texas -- Two San Antonio high school football players have been suspended and could face criminal charges after one hit a referee from behind and the other subsequently speared him with his helmet during a game Friday night.

The two defensive backs from John Jay High School hit the back judge in the waning moments of a 15-9 loss at Marble Falls, which is located about 90 miles north of San Antonio.

Video shows the referee, who was watching the play from behind the defensive line, getting leveled from behind by a first player, causing the referee's head to snap back. The other player then is seen lowering his helmet and piling into the referee after he had fallen down.

Both players were immediately ejected from the game and later suspended indefinitely from the team and from school, pending an investigation by the Northside Independent School District. The referee was "very upset" and "wanting to press charges," Austin Football Officials Association secretary Wayne Elliott said.

"The first thing we want is that those two kids never play football again," said Elliott, who declined to release the referee's name and added he was seeking guidance from the state officials association.

Northside Independent School District athletic director Stan Laing told KENS5-TV that the incident Friday was "disturbing" and "inexcusable."

District spokesman Pascual Gonzalez told The Associated Press on Sunday that it would hear from game officials, coaches and students during an upcoming due process hearing, which also will involve the University Interscholastic League, the state's school sports governing body.

"It is not the good sportsmanlike behavior that we teach students," Gonzalez said.

NFL Referees Association executive director Jim Quirk released a statement Monday condemning the brutal blindside hits.

"These types of actions against any game official at any level are inexcusable," the statement read in part. "We fully support the suspensions of the players involved, along with a full and complete investigation by the Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL)."

Before the referee was hit, two Jay players had been ejected on separate plays.

Marble Falls was trying to run out the clock and called for a handoff toward the left side of the line of scrimmage, according to the San Antonio Express-News. The penalties resulting from the incident gave Marble Falls a first down.

Marble Falls coach Matt Green said John Jay coach Gary Gutierrez apologized after the game.

"I've coached 14 years, and I've never seen anything like it,'' Green said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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