Fresno City College kept its bowl hopes alive with a 36-28 victory over College of the Sequoias, a win marred by a postgame brawl.
Numerous scuffles broke out, as both sides showed signs of calm only to flare up again Saturday afternoon at Mineral King Bowl in Visalia. It was not immediately clear what sparked the melee in a game broadcast over the web by the COS student newspaper.
COS Athletic Director Brent Davis said he needed to look at video, including the student broadcast and any footage captured by the coaching staff’s film crew.
It was pretty bad. This is going to take a while to figure out.
COS Athletic Director Brent Davis on a postgame brawl following Saturday’s football game with Fresno City
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“I know both schools believe in sportsmanship,” Davis said. “It was pretty bad. This is going to take a while to figure out.”
Altercations began about 30 seconds after the teams began the postgame handshake, a custom for junior college games with players passing side by side in long lines.
Rams coach Tony Caviglia said he also was unsure what triggered it all. He said he had his back turned when the shoving began.
Viewing the online broadcast, an archive of which was taken down later Saturday, it appeared two opposing players had words, with the COS player taking a swing. Several pockets of altercations broke out up and down one side of the field, even as coaches tried to intercede and move players toward their respective locker rooms.
“I was in the middle trying to break it up,” Caviglia said. “I have to look at the film and find out what started it. At one point we’re shaking hands and next thing I’m in the middle trying to break up pushing and shoving.
“It was a good game and I hate to think that it had to end like this. After a game, you shake hands and you move on. We’re going to look at the film and study the film. If there are Fresno City players that were involved in the creating of this, they’re going to be dealt with severely.”
Fresno City Athletic Director Eric Swain wasn’t at the game but was briefed by Davis and Caviglia.
This type of behavior is unacceptable and does not reflect the standards of Fresno City College’s Athletic Department.
Fresno City AD Eric Swain
“We are currently reviewing film and working with our league commissioner,” Swain said. “We would like to apologize to the fans. This type of behavior is unacceptable and does not reflect the standards of Fresno City College's Athletic Department.”
Andrew Zimmerman passed for three touchdowns as the Rams (5-5) qualified for the postseason. Bowl berths will be awarded Sunday, but it is not known if any potential penalties arising from the postgame incident would affect Fresno City’s bid, which otherwise appears a lock.
“You hate to penalize the whole team for just the actions of a few,” Caviglia said. “I don’t know how many of our players are involved. Look at the film and make a determination … we have to do that tonight and (Sunday).”