That’s the verdict from the Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association regarding the last Friday’s brawl-shortened football game between Bishop Timon-St. Jude and St. Joe’s at Fitzpatrick Field.
The football programs received their punishment Wednesday as league executive director Brian Kiszewski issued a statement through the Diocese of Buffalo. In addition to the Monsignor Martin ruling the game a double forfeit, the release also indicated that though there were players from both teams disciplined it wouldn’t offer specifics nor the number of players from each team. It also wouldn’t reveal whether any coaches were disciplined or suspended.
Kiszewski’s statement: “Since 1948, the Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association, through its member schools, has sought to instill personal values and sportsmanship in the students who attend our high schools. Although no young person was injured, the incident which occurred last Friday evening is not representative of the standards we expect.
“After an investigation of this incident, the league has imposed a double forfeit, meaning that Friday's suspended game will be recorded as a loss for the varsity football teams of both St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute and Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School. The league has also taken other appropriate disciplinary action against some players from both teams. Moving forward, the league and each of its member schools will continue to provide a safe and secure atmosphere for our students and student-athletes, and continue to teach those values consistent with our ministries.”
St. Joe's Athletic Director Pete Schneider declined comment when asked about the punishment doled out by the league. Timon counterpart and football coach Charlie Comerford did not return a message.
Kiszewski declined further comment when contacted by The Buffalo News.
While the league and the schools did not offer specifics regarding player discipline, a Time Warner Cable News video of the fight appears to show at least one Timon player and a St. Joe’s counterpart exchanging punches. Coaches from both teams – including St. Joe’s going from its sideline to the Tigers’ – appeared to be trying to break up the fight, according to the same video.
The double forfeit means both teams now have a loss in league play. The top two finishers in the six-team league receive byes and automatically advance into the league playoff tournament’s semifinal round Nov. 12. The postseason begins the week of Nov. 4 with the Nos. 3 through 6 seeds squaring off in quarterfinal games at with the third and fourth seeds serving as hosts.
Timon is technically in second place because it has one more league win at 2-1 than St. Francis and St. Joe’s, who are both 1-1. St. Joe’s is slated to host unbeaten state No. 1 Canisius at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Robert T. Scott Complex. Also on Saturday, Timon travels to Rochester to face defending state Class AA champion Aquinas, while St. Francis hosts Cathedral Prep at 7 p.m. Timon still has games left against Canisius and St. Francis, while St. Joe’s hosts St. Francis Oct. 22.
Wednesday’s statement ended three days of silence by the league, which on Saturday said it wouldn’t make a ruling until it received and reviewed the officials’ game report. Both schools posted statements on their websites after the game regarding the incident prior to the ruling.
The brawl became a national story because Ole Miss quarterback, St. Joe's alumnus and NFL prospect Chad Kelly, believed to be in town to watch his younger brother Casey during Ole Miss' bye week, charged the field from the stands and had to be restrained. He issued an apology to his team and coach for not showing good judgement Monday.