Thursday, Oct. 8, 2009 | 7:56 p.m.
Fernando Carmona pursued the football coaching position at Western High last spring because he believed in the school’s athletes. But just when he thought he was making strides in bringing more structure and discipline to the team, the Warriors took a turn for the worse.
They were involved in a game-ending brawl on Oct. 2 against Bonanza, a melee that forced officials to stop the game in the third quarter with Western trailing 20-0.
“All hell broke loose,” Carmona said. “Every time I turned around, there was another fight starting.”
Officials ruled the outcome of the game as a double forfeit, said Ray Mathis, the director of athletics for the Clark County School District.
Marc Ratner, the commissioner of the Southern Nevada Officials Association, on Thursday suspended 12 players — seven from Western and five from Bonanza — for this week’s game, Mathis said. Western takes on Sierra Vista and Bonanza plays league-leading Bishop Gorman.
Per Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association rules, any player removed from a game for being involved in an altercation must also sit out the following contest.
The delay in the ruling was the result of Ratner needing time to analyze the tape and identify players involved, Mathis said.
The incident was something Carmona said he had never seen in 15 years of coaching. Some five days later, the disappointment lingered in the coach’s voice.
“It was so chaotic. Everything happened so fast,” Carmona said.
In addition to the suspension by the officials’ association, Carmona said, Western’s administration has removed three players from the team — which leaves 19 players to suit up against Sierra Vista.
The coach is using the incident as a learning tool in teaching his athletes that there are consequences for actions.
“We have a lot of good kids here who take a bad rap, but we also have some who need to turn it around,” Carmona said.
Ratner and Bonanza coach Shawn Dupris didn’t immediately return phone calls seeking comment.