HUDSON — Tuesday night’s battle for first place in Class 3A, District 8 ended with one player in a hospital, five red cards and fans running onto the field during a game-ending fight.
“It’s not acceptable,” Gulf coach Steve Emerson said after his team’s 0-0 draw at Fivay. “It’s teenagers. It’s emotion. It’s blood boiling. But it’s not acceptable.”
With playoff seeding at stake, Fivay (11-4-4) and Gulf (9-4-1) were chippy all game. Referees gave two yellow cards in the first half and another in the opening minutes of the second.
But things got out of control in the final 14 minutes.
A shoving match followed after Gulf captain Travis Jehs’ shot missed wide in the second half. Officials quickly separated the players, and no cards were given.
“It was getting dicey out there,” Emerson said. “There was lot of grabbing, a lot of pushing, a lot of shoving.”
Things got hotter with two minutes to go. Fivay captain Jimmy Bors took down Jehs near midfield on the side closest to the stands. Jehs appeared to retaliate by shoving Bors, and players from both teams rushed to break it up. At least one punch was thrown.
The fight escalated when a handful of fans jumped down from the stands and onto the track and ran toward the players.
Officials ended the game early after giving red cards to Jehs and three Buccaneers who left the bench plus a Fivay player who threw a punch.
“That was the weirdest game I’ve ever experienced,” Falcons coach Eric Kruck said.
The scariest scene of the night happened midway through the second half. Jehs had the ball on the right side of the goal near the net and rocketed a shot that slammed into goalkeeper Brandon Taylor’s face.
Taylor, a senior with three shutouts this season, hit the ground awkwardly and was knocked unconscious. He moved his toes and fingers but told Kruck that he didn’t have all of his feeling in his hands. Taylor also complained of back pain, Kruck said.
The game was stalled for 20 minutes as medical officials attended to Taylor, who was carted off the field on a stretcher and taken to a hospital in an ambulance.
“I just hope he’s okay,” Kruck said.