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Football game forfeited after players join bleacher brawl

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POSTED October 22, 2017 6:52 p.m.

DESERT HOT SPRINGS (AP) — A Southern California high school forfeited its final home football game of the season after players joined a brawl in the bleachers.

Desert Hot Springs High School conceded to Coachella Valley before the opening kickoff after its principal canceled the game following fights that broke out Friday night.

Trouble began as students started fighting in the crowd after seniors were introduced for what was supposed to be their final home game, the Desert Sun reported .

Administrators and security broke up the scrap. But another fight soon followed that included students and parents. Several players ran to the stands and joined the scuffle.

“You never see anything like this. This is crazy,” Coachella Valley head coach Brett Davis said. “We watched the whole thing. I saw a lot of their players run up in there. It’s too bad.”

Desert Hot Springs receiver Joziaha Winfrey jumped into the fray when he saw another adult swinging at his father, his mother, Liz Ward said.

Winfrey felt bad for getting involved, but felt stuck because he didn’t want to see his father get hurt, Ward said. Winfrey’s father, Donte Winfrey, was defending another student when he was attacked, Ward said.

“I’m pretty sure any kid would try to help their dad if they see their dad getting hurt,” Ward said.

No one was seriously hurt, but Desert Hot Springs decided to cancel the game for safety, athletic director Kai Lyles said.

The melee involving several players marred what was supposed to be celebrated as the final home game for seniors and left the Golden Eagles winless this season at 0-8.

Police were investigating the fight, but no arrests were made. Winfrey was initially detained, but he was released, his mother said.

Desert Hot Springs head coach Bill Johnson said it was an unfortunate outcome for everyone who had come to the game.

“Everybody out here wanted to play a football game,” Johnson said. “This was a chance for two communities to come together and do something positive, and when poor decisions get made and control gets lost, then everybody loses.”


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