|Referee Ken Purcell and Rocket coach Al Starnes discuss|
the situation that led to multiple ejections Friday as other
coaches and school officials try to restore calm.
The Rockets lost 16-7 in a fierce defensive contest at home to McLean County (3-0) Friday. Yet the mayhem which unfolded in the third period transcended any highlights.
There was no score when disorder enveloped the ball game with 1:59 to play in the third period. The game had been hotly contested between the lines during the first half and tempers had flared early. McLean’s junior running back Tyler Beals was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct before intermission. Illustrating the issues on the field were 125 yards in penalties whistled against McLean and the referees muted the public address announcer.
The mood remained at a fever pitch on both sides when the second half started. About 10 minutes into the third quarter, Rocket quarterback Hunter Boone was tackled out of bounds on a running play. He was hit beyond the line by a McLean defender, driving Boone into the throng of players on the Crittenden County sideline. Anger erupted and McLean’s entire sideline raced across the field inciting a near brawl. Players from both teams were eventually calmed and escorted back to their respective sidelines, but not before McLean’s Dakota Davis, a 6-2, 220-pound junior lineman, was ejected. Crittenden County defensive coordinator Jeremy Wheeler was also ejected at that point. McLean was penalized 30 yards for the late hit and unsportsmanlike conduct, one of three such infractions during the game.
Police, school officials and game officials eventually restored order and the game resumed.
|It was at the end of this running play that QB Hunter|
Boone (7) was hit late out of bounds, inciting a near brawl
that led to two ejections.
On the ensuring CCHS offensive series, Boone was intercepted – the fourth of his passes picked off in the game – and McLean used optimal field position to set up its second touchdown. Turley scored from the 19 and he ran for the conversion, making it a two-possession game for the Rockets at that point, if they were to come back.
Crittenden mounted a spirited drive deep into Cougar territory on what turned out to be its final offensive possession, but Boone was knocked down after throwing an incomplete pass at the Cougar 25. The sophomore quarterback was carried from the field and sophomore Gavin Dickerson went under center. He guided the Rockets to the McLean two-yard line, but fumbled on first and goal. From there, the Cougars ran out the clock.
State police required Crittenden fans to remain seated when the game was finished while McLean's contingent exited the stadium. Teams forwent the customary post-game handshake and no further problem materialized.
The road ahead will be no easier for the 1-2 Rockets who play next week at Caldwell County, the 9th ranked team in Class 3A.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
McLean County 0 0 0 16
Crittenden County 0 0 0 7
C-Ethan Hunt 11 pass from Hunter Boone (Will Perkins kick) 11:14, 4th
M-Trevor Turley 2 run (Noah Baldwin run) 7:35, 4th
M-Turley 19 run (Turley run) 5:23, 4th
First Downs: Crittenden 13, McLean 13
Penalties: Crittenden 5-30, McLean 12-125
Rushing: Crittenden 21-75, McLean 51-281
Passing: Crittenden 14-31-4, 149 yds., McLean 0-5-0
Total Yards: Crittenden 224, McLean 281
Fumbles/Lost: Crittenden 2-2, McLean 2-2
Crittenden: Charlie Johnson 2-6, Maeson Myers 3-11, Devon Nesbitt 11-37, Gavin Dickerson 5-15. McLean: Baldwin 9-51, Brycen Parker 23-116, Tyler Beals 2-10, Dakota Patton 1-3, Turley 16-101.
Crittenden: Boone 14-31-4, 149 yds. McLean: Turley 0-5-0.
Crittenden: Hunt 6-79, Myers 4-26, Ethan Dossett 1-20, Nesbitt 2-21, Branen Lamey 1-3.
Beavers 3 solos, 6 assits, 2 TFL, caused fumble; Belt solo, 2 assists; Birk 6 solos, 3 assists, caused fumble; Brown 2 solos; Dickerson 6 solos, 8 assists, sack; Dobyns 2 solos, 5 assists; Estes 3 solos, assist, fumble recovery; Hunt 2 solos, 8 assists, blocked punt; Johnson assist; Joyce assist; Lamey 4 solos, 2 assists, sack, TFL, fumble recovery, caused fumble Myers 3 solos, 3 assists; Nesbitt assist; O’Leary solo, 7 assists, sack; Smith 7 solos, 5 assists.
Records: Crittenden 1-2, McLean 3-0