COLLEGE STATION — Sharyland Pioneer became the first team ever from the Rio Grande Valley to sweep its competition in pool play Friday at the Texas State 7on7 Championships.
But the Diamondbacks’ perfect day on the big stage was spoiled by a postgame brawl seemingly sparked by Hebron during the handshake line after Pioneer beat the Hawks 34-26, resulting in both teams being disqualified from the remainder of the tournament.
After the altercation, the organization’s executive director, Doug Stephens, cited the organization’s rule book, which states any players “involved will be ejected from the game and the tournament. If a team fight occurs, the teams involved will be ejected from the tournament and denied participation in any/all state qualifying tournaments! They will also be disqualified from participating in the state tournament.”
With the Diamondbacks already having clinched their place in the championship bracket today, Hebron needed to beat Pioneer in order to avoid the consolation bracket.
Hebron led the Diamondbacks 26-22 late during the second half of their Pool O game, but a touchdown, interception and another touchdown by Sharyland Pioneer closed the door on Hebron’s hopes.
The jawing from the Hebron side was visible from the opening snap. One Hebron player was penalized twice during the game and ejected from the contest. That same player initiated the brawl with a blindside punch to a Diamondbacks player’s face during the handshake line. Once the final buzzer sounded, Hebron rushed Pioneer’s sideline, hit two Diamondbacks in the face with punches and kicked two Diamondbacks in the face while on the ground. At least two Diamondbacks players had visible injuries, one a cut to the forehead and the other a cut to the lip, both caused by kicking — both drawing blood.
Pioneer responded and punches were then thrown on both sides, but with the brawl occurring a few feet in front of the Diamondbacks’ sideline, Pioneer parents and coaches from both teams stepped in to break up the melee.
There were tears of anger, frustration and disappointment from the Diamondbacks players in the aftermath as they realized they would be disqualified from the tournament after a 3-0 day of football.
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