Archive for Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Chinstraps and Mouthpieces

School officials at Piper, THS need to resolve post-game fracas soon

September 22, 2004

Oh if only the Pirates and the Chieftains could just get along.

Friday's Kaw Valley League showdown lived up to all of its hype. When Tonganoxie claimed the thrilling 17-14 victory, it marked the third time in four years the match-up ended with a tight score.

In 2001, THS won by that margin. In 2003, Piper claimed the victory by the exact score. Heck, in 2002, the teams had another tight game as Piper squeaked out the district win, 7-0.

A little disgust for a rival is what makes athletics interesting.

When players, coaches, administrators, and even an athletics trainer, are treated with disrespect and even profanity, though, there is a definite problem.

Many accounts of who, what, why and how problems escalated after the game Friday likely are flying around Tonganoxie and Piper.

At least someone's trying to get to the bottom of it.

Administrators at both schools are working together to find out what went wrong under the Friday night lights last week.

The issue needs to be resolved -- and soon.

The Tonganoxie football team already had two incidents involving scuffles during 7-on-7 football action in the summer.

That's not to say the fingers automatically should point to Chieftain players. Players seemed to conduct themselves well once the incident was full-blown Friday. Kudos to some coaches for corralling players back to their respective sidelines.

But one doesn't have to hang out at a high school football game to see some out-of-control individuals.

At the Tonganoxie vs. Basehor-Linwood soccer game Sept. 2 in Basehor, a referee ejected an irate fan.

Last year during a Lansing-Tonganoxie basketball game in Tonganoxie, two Lansing students made their way into the THS student section. Administrators quickly escorted the LHS students out of the gymnasium. The incidents just show how a situation can fester and then erupt.

School officials made sure earlier this week that Piper and Tonganoxie students would be coming into little contact with each other.

Monday's freshman football game was cancelled, and THS football players were instructed not to attend volleyball matches in Piper where Tonganoxie was taking on PHS and Perry-Lecompton in a triangular.

Without a doubt, emotions run rampant in sports.

But certain feelings need to be restrained, especially between Tonganoxie and Piper.

With the squads no longer assigned to the same football districts, it's more possible the teams could meet again if they both advance to the playoffs.

If that's the case, another 17-14 score would be perfect -- with players and coaches shaking hands after the game.

vvv

Moving on from Pipergate, how about those Chieftains and Bulldogs?

When was the last time the Tonganoxie and McLouth football teams were undefeated at the same time?

Tonganoxie has responded well after losing a big senior class last year.

And McLouth -- the Bulldogs have erased about four years of bad memories in roughly three years. MHS coach Harry Hester has oozed with optimism ever since he came to McLouth in the summer of 2003.

Success at THS and MHS hasn't been limited to the gridiron. McLouth's girls cross country team has won all three of its meets, while the THS boys team has either won or challenged in all its early meets. For the girls team, Christy Weller continues to impress as a rookie. The freshman has won two meets and finished fifth at the prestigious Rim Rock Classic.

And as of Monday, the Chieftain volleyball team was 6-0 on the young season. THS hasn't lost a game in that span, either.

The Mirror sports department could be quite busy once substate, regionals and state meets, tournaments and playoffs roll our way.

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