Six second half personal fouls escalated tension before Pioneer-Huron brawl
Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com
The box score of Friday night’s Pioneer-Huron game paints a picture of one that escalated during the second half before ultimately culminating in a post-game fight involving players and coaches that sent one player to the hospital.
School officials are meeting today to determine the next course of action.
The second half of the game featured six personal fouls, including two for unsportsmanlike conduct. That’s compared to one personal foul in the first half, and three penalties that were not personal fouls. For the game, Pioneer was assessed four personal fouls, and Huron was assessed three.
The ultimate moment that instigated the fight was Pioneer’s decision to throw deep passes in the final minute when the game was in hand. Huron coach Cory Gildersleeve blamed Pioneer coach Paul Test for not considering the volume of personal foul penalties when choosing a late-game strategy that could incite anger.
“Any veteran coach at that point and time after there’s been two or three personal foul penalties thrown out on the field would take a knee and end the game,” Gildersleeve said Friday night.
Test said his players were the ones responsible for the late play calls, and later apologized to Gildersleeve.
The final Pioneer drive featured two passes. The final one, the second-to-last play of the game, resulted in a pass interference penalty.
Gildersleeve said it was after that play that he started yelling at Test from across the field.
The two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in Friday’s game came in a span of three plays early in the third quarter. After Pioneer was penalized for roughing the passer on the fourth play of the half, Huron received an offsetting personal foul for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Two plays later, Pioneer received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Both were assessed for shoving after the whistle.
The game also became chippy on Pioneer’s final drive of the game, when the Pioneers were assessed a personal foul on the kickoff, and another six plays later.
While penalty statistics on high school football games are scarce, data available indicates Friday's game featured more fouls than most. Of the four full Pioneer box scores submitted to AnnArbor.com this season, Friday’s game featured the most personal foul penalties.
Pioneer’s game against Skyline featured six personal fouls, three for each team. Overall, Pioneer committed eight personal fouls in the four games, including one against Temperance Bedford and none against Monroe. In each of the four games, Pioneer amassed more penalty yards than its opponent.
The only other area school that submits full box scores, including penalty totals, is Chelsea. The Bulldogs committed five personal fouls in five games. In those five games, nine personal fouls were committed. That’s compared to 14 in four games for Pioneer.