When the night starts with a referee telling a high school football player to “shut up” and flagging another for unsportsmanlike conduct when he refuses to shake hands with his opponent during the pregame coin toss, you kind of expect things might get out of hand.
But you don’t anticipate them getting this out of hand.
Flanagan (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) High’s win against district rival Miramar (Hollywood, Fla.) mercifully came to a 31-6 end on Friday, but not before the teams were whistled for 48 penalties spanning 480 yards. And that’s the least of the evening’s problems, as a Miramar player and two of his coaches now face suspensions for their alleged actions in the game.
According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, head referee Steve Torres filed a report to the Florida High School Athletic Association alleging Miramar junior defensive end Owen Carney “intentionally ran out of bounds and hit Flanagan head coach Devin Bush with a forearm in the back” during a play. Carney was ejected from the game following the incident.
Torres also reportedly tossed Miramar defensive coordinator A.J. Scott for stepping onto the field to question a fourth-quarter call, and then threw out Miramar assistant Josh Taylor for his expletive-laden argument over Scott’s ejection. Sounds like an enjoyable Friday evening.
As a result, the FHSAA suspended Scott for one game, Taylor for six and Carney for an entire year — meaning he cannot return until midway through his senior season — according to the Sun Sentinel. Miramar High School has also been fined $750 as a result of the ordeal.
Confusing matters, however, is the Flanagan coach’s account in Wednesday’s Miami Herald. Bush told the paper “nothing happened to me” and called the punishment of Carney unfair.
“I think they’re blowing this thing way out of proportion,” Bush said. “I’m at a loss of words right now that the people in our own county would try to vilify their own kids and people. I’m really upset right now that that is happening to kids. Nothing happened to me. If someone attacked me, I wouldn’t be this furious [over the ruling].”
Au contraire, says FHSAA spokesman Corey Sobers, who told the Miami Herald, “Coach Bush did not see it happen as he was watching the play.” Surely he must’ve felt it, though? I’m confused. Miramar hasn’t appealed the suspensions, but is “in the process of researching the situation,” which will include watching game film and interviewing potential witnesses.
Miramar doesn’t exactly have a glowing record with the FHSAA. The athletic program remains under investigation after the school self-reported several rules violations, including improper benefits and grade tampering, which resulted in coach Matt Strout’s firing last season, according to the Sun Sentinel. Prior to the football team’s state title-winning season of 2009 and rise to national prominence in 2011, Miramar was also involved in a brutal brawl that left 54 players suspended in 2007. The opponent? You guessed it: Flanagan.