Eight players ejected after bench-clearing brawl during Ballard-Garfield football game
Ballard coach Joey Thomas says three players from Ballard and five from Garfield will be ineligible for this week's games, in accordance to Washington Interscholastic Activities Association rules.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Joey Thomas doesn't condone the action but understands the emotion.
Thomas, Ballard's first-year football coach, laments the bench-clearing altercation that broke out between his Beavers and Garfield on Saturday night at Seattle Memorial Stadium in the fourth quarter of their KingCo 4A game.
He said officials ejected eight players — three from Ballard and five from Garfield — who will be ineligible for this week's games, in accordance to Washington Interscholastic Activities Association rules.
"It's a sad day in Beaver nation," said Thomas, a 1999 Kennedy High School graduate who went on to earn All-America honors at Montana State and enjoy a five-year professional career. "We'd like to show more class and more integrity than that. But we'll use it as a teaching moment."
David Myers, Garfield's interim coach following the suspension of first-year coach Kelvin Goliday earlier in the season, declined to comment when reached by phone Sunday.
"We really don't have anything to say about it," Myers said.
It was the homecoming game for the Beavers, who also were celebrating the 60-year anniversary of their 1951 team that won the school's only state football championship. Ballard (1-2, 3-3) won, 26-7.
Ballard had just taken a 26-0 lead with about five minutes left in the game.
Thomas said after the two-point conversion failed, quarterback Johnny Verduin suffered what the coach felt was a late hit, but no penalty was called. Teammate Dominic King pulled the Garfield player off and helped Verduin up. A Garfield player then threw a punch, Thomas said, at a Ballard player and both benches cleared.
"Nobody should have left the sideline, but at the same time as a former player I understand it's hard when you see one of your teammates being swung on," Thomas said. "This is a contact sport. I am my brother's keeper and everybody's playing for each other."
He said officials "did the best job they could" to manage the situation. He also said he felt the Garfield coaches reacted appropriately to regain control.
Officials allowed the remainder of the game to be played.
Thomas said coaches from both teams shook hands afterward, but that players did not, in an effort to avoid any further incidents. He said he will meet with Ballard administrators Monday to determine if any further disciplinary action is warranted.
Goliday was suspended by Garfield administrators after pulling his team off the field late in the third quarter of Garfield's opening game against Lake Washington. He later said he considered it a safety issue after what he felt were a series of late whistles by officials. Garfield (0-3, 1-5) trailed 14-0 and the game was ultimately deemed a forfeit.
Goliday said Sunday he is "in limbo" and is not allowed to communicate with Garfield coaches, players or parents. He said it appears unlikely he will be returning to the program.
"I kind of doubt it, the way it's looking," Goliday said.
Last year's Garfield coaches, Anthony Allen and Anthony Kelley, were forced to resign after playing ineligible athletes in Week 2.
Sandy Ringer: 206-718-1512 or email@example.com
Trending on seattletimes.com
Most viewed photo galleries
The Morning Memo
The Morning Memo jump starts your day with weather, traffic and news
Career Center Blog