Administrators investigate incident after football game
Friday's Tonganoxie-Piper football game in Piper was one for the ages.
Once the final whistle blew, however, the scene turned ugly.
Tonganoxie hit the game-winning field goal with about two seconds remaining in the game. Once the contest was finished, the teams met at mid-field for customary handshakes.
But tempers flared between the two sides. Some coaches from both teams instructed their players to head back to their respective sidelines. Other coaches met on the field to discuss the problem, but shouting continued.
THS principal Tatia Shelton said Monday that she could not comment on the specifics of the altercation.
"It's a situation that's currently being looked into by both administrative staffs to determine what happened and I don't want to offer anything without having full details," Shelton said. "It was an unfortunate situation. I'm embarrassed it happened."
Tonganoxie won the game, 17-14 -- the same score as last year's game when Piper won in overtime at Tonganoxie's Beatty Field.
As time expired in regulation last year, fireworks were shot off near Chieftain Park as Tonganoxie apparently won the game. THS, however, was called for a penalty and Piper was given another shot at the end zone.
The Pirates converted and later won in overtime.
After the confrontation following this year's game, which was Piper's homecoming, Tonganoxie players remained on the field to, as Shelton said, "let tempers cool."
THS coach Mark Elston said the team stayed on the field for roughly 20 to 25 minutes, and security directed the team to the bus and out of the Piper High School parking lot.
"Security was heightened and, again, it was more precautionary," Shelton said. "I don't think anything would happen but we made sure there were plenty of people around."
THS athletics director Brandon Parker said Monday that the freshman and junior varsity football games between the two schools had been cancelled, and THS football players were asked not to attend volleyball matches Tuesday at Piper where the Chieftains were playing in a triangular. Parker said those decisions were "precautionary measures."
"We're trying to stay proactive in the situation," Parker said."
In the last five years, the largest margin of victory between the two football teams was 12 in 2000 when Tonganoxie won, 26-14. THS won, 17-14, in 2001, while Piper won, 7-0, in 2002.
Throw in the last two meetings that were determined by three points, and it appears that the teams have a good rivalry brewing.
Unfortunately, Shelton said, this year's game was tarnished by post-game events.
"Both sides played their hearts out," Shelton said. "It was very emotional.
"When people think of the 2004 Tonganoxie-Piper game, they won't think of Jeff Hughes kicking a 28-yard field goal to win the game, they'll think of the actions of adults after the game that made it an unfortunate incident."