PHOENIX MELTDOWN: 37-0 blowout ends early due to fighting


By Evan Goodenow - egoodenow@civitasmedia.com



<p style="text-align: right;">Photos by Russ Gifford | Oberlin News-Tribune Wellington’s Trevor Porter goes up for an interception against Oberlin in Friday’s ill-fated game, which ended early due to fighting.

Photos by Russ Gifford | Oberlin News-Tribune Wellington’s Trevor Porter goes up for an interception against Oberlin in Friday’s ill-fated game, which ended early due to fighting.


Dukes defenders close in on Oberlin’s Devan Yarber.


Oberlin quarterback David Payne lets loose with a pass downfield.


Wellington’s Justin Skinner tries to elude Oberlin defenders Devan Yarber and Justin Noble.


Oberlin quarterback David Payne searches for a receiver.


SUPERINTENDENT REACTION

School superintendent David Hall said the fighting by Oberlin Phoenix players that led to Friday night’s game being called with 9:37 left in the fourth quarter is unacceptable.

“On behalf of the district, I would like to apologize to the community, our alumni, and parents for the incident,” Hall said in a written statement. “We will continue to instill in our student athletes the following ideology: the idea that they do not just put on an Oberlin uniform for sporting games, but they are putting on Oberlin tradition. (Friday) night we did not represent that tradition.”

Hall said in an interview Monday that he agreed with the officials’ decision. “There should be no tolerance for fighting,” he said.

Nonetheless, Hall said he knows what it’s like to be frustrated on the gridiron. Hall was a defensive back on the Middletown Middies in the 1980s.

“Adrenaline is rushing through you,” he said. “You’re in the zone.”

During a 1988 playoff loss, he said a couple players became frustrated and were ejected from the game for fighting. Hall said he and other seniors were able to calm their teammates and the game continued.

Hall said he plans to speak with the Phoenix players and make it clear their conduct was unacceptable. He said he hopes the team will learn from the incident and move on positively.

“Embarrassing.”

The tweet by Oberlin quarterback David Payne after the Oberlin Phoenix’s 37-0 homecoming loss Friday to the Wellington Dukes defined the shutout.

The (2-2) Phoenix lost their cool as well as the game, which ended with 9:37 remaining in the fourth quarter after a fight broke out.

The scuffle stemmed from a Dukes extra point by Parker Adler. With their offense grounded due to at least six snaps over quarterback Payne’s head — one resulting in a safety — the Phoenix took out their frustrations by fighting with the Dukes, leading to several penalties.

The fight began between Adler and Aaron Arnold. Both players will be suspended for the next two games. Earlier, after getting tackled a couple of yards out of bounds on the Phoenix sideline, running back Devan Yarber slammed his helmet to the ground and had to be restrained by teammates.

It was one of a few occasions where coaches have had to restrain players.

Coach Garrett Mack wouldn’t comment after the game, but he could be heard berating players in the locker room for their behavior.

With Oberlin coming off a 50-6 victory and Wellington having won 62-44 on Sept. 9, the game looked to be a shootout, but teams shot themselves in the foot in the first half.

The high snaps resulted in negative 51 yards rushing for the Phoenix and Payne was intercepted three times. The Phoenix were also hurt by drive-killing penalties.

The only touchdown of the half came on a Payne punt from about the Phoenix 10-yard line that was partially blocked. It bounced back upfield to the Dukes’ Max Carevic, who ran the ball in from about two yards out. After Adler’s extra point attempt was blocked, the Dukes led 6-0 with 4:02 remaining in the second quarter.

“I just saw no one was around,” Carevic said of the touchdown, which may have been the shortest punt return for points in Dukes history. “I figured if I pick it up and score, it will count.”

The (2-2) Dukes offense clicked in the second half. Carevic connected on a 30-yard TD in the left corner of the end zone to a leaping Trevor Porter, then hit Tristan Arno in the right corner of the end zone for a two-point conversion.

On the Dukes’ next possession, running back Justin Skinner caught a screen pass from Carevic and ran 30 yards down the left sideline for another touchdown. Adler made the extra point, giving the Dukes a 21-0 lead.

“Why are you quitting?” Mack asked his players. “Let’s go!”

But the Phoenix offense’s unforced errors continued with a high snap that led to a safety, putting the Dukes up 23-o. Carevic, whose blockers were increasingly opening holes against the exhausted Phoenix defense, ran about two yards off right guard for a TD and Adler converted to up the score to 30-0.

“They just started tiring out near the end of the game,” Carevic said of the (2-2) Phoenix. “(And) everyone on defense did their job. We needed that.”

The Dukes’ last touchdown was on a two-yard plunge up the middle by Tristan Arno. Fisticuffs followed, ending the game.

Dukes coach Sean Arno said Oberlin started most of the fights and calling the game early was needed to prevent more players from being suspended.

He said Alder will be suspended for two games for fighting.

“It’s a rivalry,” Arno said of the matchup, which dates back to 1946. “It got out of hand so they cancelled it. That’s it.”

Evan Goodenow can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @GoodenowNews on Twitter.

Photos by Russ Gifford | Oberlin News-Tribune Wellington’s Trevor Porter goes up for an interception against Oberlin in Friday’s ill-fated game, which ended early due to fighting.

http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2016/09/web1_WHSFootballAtOberlin-1-of-8-1-1.jpg

Photos by Russ Gifford | Oberlin News-Tribune Wellington’s Trevor Porter goes up for an interception against Oberlin in Friday’s ill-fated game, which ended early due to fighting.

Dukes defenders close in on Oberlin’s Devan Yarber.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2016/09/web1_WHSFootballAtOberlin-3-of-8-1-1.jpgDukes defenders close in on Oberlin’s Devan Yarber.

Oberlin quarterback David Payne lets loose with a pass downfield.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2016/09/web1_WHSFootballAtOberlin-4-of-8-1-1.jpgOberlin quarterback David Payne lets loose with a pass downfield.

Wellington’s Justin Skinner tries to elude Oberlin defenders Devan Yarber and Justin Noble.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2016/09/web1_WHSFootballAtOberlin-6-of-8-1-1.jpgWellington’s Justin Skinner tries to elude Oberlin defenders Devan Yarber and Justin Noble.

Oberlin quarterback David Payne searches for a receiver.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2016/09/web1_WHSFootballAtOberlin-7-of-8-1-1.jpgOberlin quarterback David Payne searches for a receiver.

By Evan Goodenow

egoodenow@civitasmedia.com

SUPERINTENDENT REACTION

School superintendent David Hall said the fighting by Oberlin Phoenix players that led to Friday night’s game being called with 9:37 left in the fourth quarter is unacceptable.

“On behalf of the district, I would like to apologize to the community, our alumni, and parents for the incident,” Hall said in a written statement. “We will continue to instill in our student athletes the following ideology: the idea that they do not just put on an Oberlin uniform for sporting games, but they are putting on Oberlin tradition. (Friday) night we did not represent that tradition.”

Hall said in an interview Monday that he agreed with the officials’ decision. “There should be no tolerance for fighting,” he said.

Nonetheless, Hall said he knows what it’s like to be frustrated on the gridiron. Hall was a defensive back on the Middletown Middies in the 1980s.

“Adrenaline is rushing through you,” he said. “You’re in the zone.”

During a 1988 playoff loss, he said a couple players became frustrated and were ejected from the game for fighting. Hall said he and other seniors were able to calm their teammates and the game continued.

Hall said he plans to speak with the Phoenix players and make it clear their conduct was unacceptable. He said he hopes the team will learn from the incident and move on positively.