LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Two East Texas coaches believe recent altercations between players and officials have no place in the Friday night lights culture that is high school football.
The first incident occurred when two players from John jay High School in San Antonio targeted a referee they claim made racial slurs directed at them. The two players were suspended and sent to an alternative school. This past weekend, a play from St. Anthony High School, also from the San Antonio area, shoved an official after he was given a personal foul penalty for a late hit.
"It shouldn't be labeled Texas football," Lufkin head coach Todd Quick said. "It's not what we are or who we are."
As the Nacogdoches Dragons hit the practice field on Monday, coach Bobby Reyes believed the incidents were isolated.
"This is my 42nd year and I have never seen anything like that," Reyes said. "Yea, I think these are isolated incidents. Does it mean that it could occur again? Yea, sure. That was just atrocious for that to happen."
In East Texas, many of the officiating crews with the Texas Association of Sports Officials will go over rules and expectations with selected team captains before the game kicks off. Many times the officials will ask the captains to bring any issues to their attention so it can be handled properly.
"They'll tell a kid when he is getting out of control and they will warn him first," Quick said. "Then they will come to the coach second. There are ways to prevent this from happening."
Reyes said from the moment the players buckle their chinstraps as freshman, his staff makes sure they know the rules and how to treat the other people on the field.
"If they get a personal foul, they will be punished the next day," Reyes said. "They are not just hurting them; they are hurting the entire team. We are not going to allow personal foul penalties. Our kids know not to say anything to officials. They're not supposed to say anything to the other team. Sometimes that doesn't go that way and that's not what we want."
Both Reyes and Quick agree the videos they saw of the two incidents are unacceptable for their players. Reyes and Quick have discipline actions lined up if something like that does happen. Both rival coaches said the place to start is by leading by example.
"You have to know your limits," Reyes said. "Know when to stop and what you have to do. [You] try to set a good example for the kids."
"I have to coach them, teach them and tell them what they should have done so this does not happen," Quick said.
TASO is not commenting on the incidents until their investigation is complete into the matter.