Two coaches punished, man sent to hospital in Cruces brawl - Albuquerque Journal

Two coaches punished, man sent to hospital in Cruces brawl

As Nathan Smith prepared to watch his kid play football Saturday, he was horrified by what he saw.

Just as his son was about to go onto the field, Smith said, he noticed a small group of football players fighting. The kids, ages 12 and 13, played for a youth league team and had just finished a critical game.

A few minutes later, the situation spiraled into chaos.

Parents, players and coaches punched, choked and hurled helmets at one another for about 3 minutes until the fray subsided, Smith said.

The incident sent one man to a hospital, left one coach suspended and another coach expelled, and resulted in a police investigation.

The incident also led to the association that hosts and sponsors multiple football, basketball, and volleyball leagues in Las Cruces to break from tradition.

Starting with the coming basketball season this winter, teams will no longer use school names and logos to avoid association with Las Cruces Public Schools, according to LCPS spokesperson Kelly Jameson.

Although the fight might have started among children, witnesses and authorities said that adults took it to a new level.

“I’d never seen something like this firsthand,” Smith said. “And it was bigger than any one I’ve ever seen on YouTube or on TV, that’s for sure.”

Mandy Guss, the city of Las Cruces communication director, told the Sun-News that police are still investigating the incident and that no one has been arrested.

According to parents who witnessed the event and documents from the Las Cruces Bantam Weight Sports Association, two games were scheduled for Saturday.

The first game at noon featured the Picacho Scorpions facing off against the Lynn Cougars as part of the BWSA yearly playoff bracket.

The association – which is not a function of Las Cruces Public Schools – hosts the yearly tournament at the end of its regular season.

Saturday’s game between the Scorpions and the Cougars was a semifinal contest. The winner would face another team of seventh-graders next weekend.

Smith, whose son played for another team, arrived about 15 minutes before the end of the Scorpions-Cougars game.

After the Scorpions won the game, the teams and coaches shook hands and parted amicably, Smith said. Then, he noticed a few players from each team start fighting.

“I saw parents being way over the top and being boisterous and cheering and yelling,” Smith said, describing the scene as the game concluded. “They get a little too excited for a seventh-grade football game.”

Tim Hall, the director of the Las Cruces Bantam Weight Sports Associations, told the Sun-News that the situation erupted into chaos when adults got involved.

Hall, who was at the field, said that the fight was initiated by a player from the Lynn Cougars and that, for the most part, other seventh-graders stayed out of the affray. Then the adults got involved.

“The adults took over and acted like idiots,” he said, recalling a parent who got into a fight with a referee during the brawl.

Hall said thatnmost of the kids cleared out soon after the affray started but that many adults persisted. Hall said a coach was taken to a hospital as a precaution because he fainted during the fight.

One assistant coach from the Picacho Scorpions was suspended because of his conduct during the chaos.

More seriously, Hall said that the association indefinitely expelled an assistant coach from the Lynn Cougars team because that coach allegedly assaulted a kid.

Hall said he doesn’t anticipate a repeat of the brawl at next week’s championship game but admits that he didn’t expect one to occur last week either. Just in case, Hall said, extra security will be on hand when the Picacho team plays in the championship game Sunday.


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