Football Game Stopped Due To 3rd-Quarter Fight
The football game Saturday afternoon between Lewis Mills High School and North Branford was stopped early in the third quarter after the teams engaged in on-field fisticuffs.In a game played at Muzzy Field, North Branford led the Spartans, 42-7, when a fight broke out on the field. According to media reports, players from both teams rushed the field. When order was restored, game officials decided the situation remained volatile and ordered that play be stopped.
Joe Tonelli, the director of the CIAC Officials Association, told the Republican-American Sunday that details of the event are sketchy.
“It was reported that the game was ended by the officials shortly after the start of the third period as a result of an altercation involving the players from both teams,” Tonelli said. “We are expected to get more information (Monday).”
Lewis Mills athletic director Dave Tanner, Mills football coach Pete Flammia, and North Branford coach Mark Basil did not answer phones nor return messages left by the Republican-American. In a comment printed in the New Haven Register Sunday, Basil was quoted as saying, “It got very ugly.”
Matt Fischer, the director of information services at the CIAC, said Sunday that he found out about the incident when he began calling to get a final score.
“I called Dave Tanner,” Fischer said, “and he said that there was a fight during the game and the referees stopped it.”
Once a football game begins the event is completely in the hands of the officials, Fischer explains.
“The referees have the responsibility to make a decision based on the spirit of good sportsmanship, and their decision is non-appealable.”
Fischer also stressed, “If the conditions are unsafe, for whatever reason, they (refs) can stop the game.”
Any time a coach or player is ejected from a high school game, officials must file a report within 24 hours to their board. Lewis Mills uses the Central Connecticut Association of Football Officials.
“Once the board checks it, it files that report with us,” said Fischer.
It is the game officials who decide which team gets the forfeit victory or defeat. The crew can also pin a forfeit loss on both teams. This is a critical decision for North Branford, which is currently fighting for the final playoff spot in the CIAC Class S state football tournament.
Fischer said that the CIAC should convene today to review the report, but has no power to overturn a decision made by game officials.