EL CERRITO — A game between Kennedy-Richmond and El Cerrito high schools likely will be ruled a no-contest after it was stopped late in the first half because of fighting outside the stadium at El Cerrito High.
The Gauchos were leading Kennedy 20-14 on Friday night when the game was stopped. Phil Tomasini, co-commissioner of the Tri-County Athletic League, said it was his understanding that the El Cerrito Police Department made the call to end the contest.
El Cerrito and Kennedy are members of the Tri-Counties Athletic League but since they play in opposite divisions, the game does not count in the league standings. However, the schools are bitter rivals and attracted a sellout crowd. Tomasini was told that much of the fighting occurred between people unable to purchase tickets.
Kennedy coach George Jackson said he would be content calling the game a no-contest. He said there were discussions about finishing the game Monday, something he was against.
“That would not be in the best interest of either team,” Jackson said. “There is no need to finish this game if it doesn’t affect the postseason.”
Both teams appear headed for the North Coast Section playoffs. El Cerrito entered with a 3-1 record and should only have St. Patrick-St. Vincent to worry about in the TCAL’s Rock Division. Kennedy was 4-1 before Friday night’s game but plays in the tougher Stone Division with Hercules and Richmond lurking ahead.
Jackson described the fighting as being “out of control during the (junior varsity) game.”
“By 6 p.m. there were multiple fights,” he said. “As my team was gathering, we saw a police chase (in vehicles) outside the stadium.”
He said the fighting in the stands appeared to involve a lot of middle school-aged participants and not many high school students.
El Cerrito coach Jacob Rincon confirmed what Jackson said.
Rincon said the decision to stop the game occurred around 9:30 p.m. He said there was fighting in the stands and outside the stadium, and when police tried to clear the stadium so the game could resume, more fighting occurred outside.
Tomasini said the schools will have the final decision about whether to continue the game.
“If the two schools call it incomplete, that’s acceptable under the rules,” Tomasini said. “It’s their decision what they want to do. There’s nothing in the rule book about how much of a football game has to be played before it’s considered a game, like in baseball.”
El Cerrito plays its league opener at John Swett next Friday night, and Kennedy hosts Albany in its league-opener.
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