More Suspensions Issued Following Hilo-Kea`au Sideline Incident
A sideline incident during last Friday’s Big Island Interscholastic Federation football semifinal between Hilo and Kea`au has led to an additional number of suspensions.
According to BIIF president Shawn Suzuki, who serves as principal of Konawaena High School, two unidentified players who were immediately ejected from Friday night’s game, one from each team, will miss their next game. For the unidentified Hilo player, that means that he will be out for next Saturday’s championship game against Kealakehe.
The suspensions stem from an incident that took place in the middle of the third quarter. Kea`au quarterback George Lucas-Tadeo was intercepted by Hilo’s Ku`ilua Mortensen. Shoving ensued and words were exchanged, which led to both sidelines leaving its respective areas and converging on the scene.
Suzuki and BIIF executive director Lyle Crozier, along with a pair of athletic directors, combed through three different angles of video tape to determine who was on the field that was not supposed to be. Suzuki said that the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) instituted a rule in the 1990s for all sports that deals with bench clearing. He said that the rule prohibits anyone from leaving the bench that does not belong on the field. “In the BIIF, if you are (guilty of leaving the sideline), then the following game, of course, you are not eligible.”
At issue was determining who was supposed to be on the field at the time of the incident. “What we were doing was looking at the video because it’s a change of possession, so Hilo intercepts the ball,” Suzuki explained. “At the time the scuffle happens between the kids, Hilo’s defense and Kea`au’s offense (are on the field). At that time, you have Kea`au’s defense coming on to the field and you have Hilo’s offense coming on the field. At a dead ball, those are the kids that are supposed to be on the field.
“There’s no way for us in the video to determine intent. Our intent was not to judge intent, but basically go through rosters and numbers and see who’s on offense and defense, and those who were not on either who weren’t supposed to be on the field, those are the ones that we informed the school of.”
The review of the video resulted in the issuing of additional suspensions. Suzuki declined to release how many student athletes were suspended because he wanted to give both schools an opportunity to appeal the ruling.
Any suspension against a Kea`au player would affect the first game next season since the Cougars’ season ended with Friday’s loss.
In regards to a potential appeal, Hilo athletic director Sondra Lundvick could not be reached for comment. Suzuki said that if Hilo chooses to appeal the suspensions, an expedited process would take place to make sure the appeal happens before next Saturday’s game.