Texas HS Football Players “Targeted” Ref, May Face Criminal Charges

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When a football player lands a big tackle on an opposing player during a game, a congratulatory slap on the back is pretty typical. However, when that person being intentionally pummeled into the ground is a referee, the outcome could be criminal.

This is the current reality for two San Antonio high school football players, who could potentially face criminal charges after deliberately targeting a referee during a game Friday night.

A video of the assault captured the two defensive backs from John Jay High School inexcusably retaliate against a ref during the tail end of a 15-9 loss in Marble Falls, Texas. In the video the unidentified referee is seen being completely blindsided after the first player makes a beeline for him, slamming into his back and knocking him face forward into the turf. Then moments later the second player dives on top of him–helmet first.

Just before the referee was hit two Jay players, including the starting quarterback, had been ejected from the game on separate plays. According to the San Antonio Express News,

Marble Falls was looking to gain the yards required to extend its possession and effectively run out the clock and called for a handoff toward the left side of the line of scrimmage. The penalties stemming from the incident gave Marble Falls a first down.

Afterwards both players were ejected from the game, and have since been suspended from the team and the school. Austin Football Officials Association secretary Wayne Elliott told the Washington Post that the referee was “very upset” and “wanting to press charges.” A prosecutor has already been contacted by investigators and is reportedly open to filing charges against the boys. If that happens they will most likely be looking at charges of assault, with the severity depending on their age–individuals 17 and older are considered legally adults in Texas.

The University Interscholastic League, which oversees athletics in Texas public schools, tweeted out the following statement.

NFL Referees Association executive director Jim Quirk also released a quick statement addressing the hits saying,

These types of actions against any game official at any level are inexcusable. We fully support the suspensions of the players involved, along with a full and complete investigation by the Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL).

They’re right that it is inexcusable. Any big sports fan will tell you that rarely do they agree 100 percent of the time with every one of the officials’ calls. Regardless of whether or not this high school referee did make a bad call, physical violence shouldn’t have been the answer. Unfortunately this incident sheds yet another negative spotlight on the sport, which seems to have been plagued by its fair share of public scandals over the past year.

It’s unclear how the official is doing after the hits, but he easily could have been seriously injured. Just last night Virginia Tech Hokies starting quarterback Michael Brewer suffered a broken collarbone after receiving a massive hit from 290 pound Ohio State lineman, and unlike the blindsided referee, he was wearing pads. These boys better hope he wasn’t seriously injured or else  they can pretty much guarantee they’ll have their day in court.

Alexis Evans
Alexis Evans is an Assistant Editor at Law Street and a Buckeye State native. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and a minor in Business from Ohio University. Contact Alexis at



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