La Vega has suspended 12 players for their District 5-4A Division I opener at Stephenville on Friday as a result of the brawl that took place during the La Vega versus Texarkana Liberty-Eylau game on Oct. 4 in Texarkana.
Pirates coach Don Hyde said on Tuesday that some of the players will serve the half-game suspension required by the UIL for leaving the bench area to participate in a fight, while others have been given a full-game ban.
Hyde declined to give the suspended players’ names or indicate how many are starters.
The Tribune-Herald also spoke with Liberty-Eylau football coach Klint King on Tuesday. He wouldn’t give the number of his players who were suspended, but said it was more than 12. The Texarkana Gazette reported last week that the Liberty-Eylau school district intended to hand out full-game suspensions for participating in the fight.
La Vega was leading Liberty-Eylau, 49-0, when Leopards running back Damien Henderson ran for a touchdown with 1:26 left in the third quarter. After the score, players began shoving each other and eventually punches were thrown. That led to the Liberty-Eylau bench players spilling onto the field and eventually some Pirates players left the bench to join the brawl.
After the officials and coaches separated the players, the game was stopped according to UIL rules for fights that involve multiple players leaving the bench areas.
Both teams had a bye week last week and the Texarkana Gazette reported that the schools were working together to exchange films of the incident and hand out appropriate discipline.
Because it was not a district game, the impact on La Vega’s record is minimal. Last week, the Texas Football state rankings counted the 49-6 victory for La Vega (5-1) in keeping the Pirates at the No. 3 spot in Class 4 Division I. However, the Texarkana Gazette reported that the schools agreed it would stand as a double forfeit.
The Pirates won 5-4A DI last season, posting a 4-0 record in the five-team loop, including a 32-15 victory over Stephenville at La Vega.
Stephenville has a 4-2 record entering this season’s home matchup against the Pirates.