Police: Texas high school football players 'targeted,' 'blindsided' game official

Story highlights

  • Prosecutor open to filing charges against two high school football players, police say
  • Video shows two players hitting a game official
  • The two were ejected from game and suspended; police are investigating

(CNN)The defensive back comes charging in at full speed, knocking his blindsided target to the ground. A teammate follows moments later by diving in helmet-first.

These kinds of bone-crushing hits often land the players involved on football highlight reels. But this time, they could land the players in jail.
The reason: They didn't level an opposing high school player but a game official.
    No arrests have been made. Police in Marble Falls, Texas, said they are investigating the incident.
    Investigators have contacted Burnet County Attorney Eddie Arredondo, whose jurisdiction includes Marble Falls, and the prosecutor has said he is open to filing charges, Marble Falls Police Department spokesman Tom Dillard said.
    Dillard wouldn't speculate on the timing of any potential charges. If charges are filed, he said, the football players could be looking at counts of assault.
    Individuals 17 and older are considered adults in Texas. Dillard said he did not know the players' ages.
    While they await their fate, the pair from San Antonio's John Jay High School have already paid a price.
    They both were ejected from Friday night's game against Marble Falls High School. The two then were suspended from the Mustangs team and from school, according to Stan Laing, executive director for athletics in the Northside Independent School District that includes John Jay and 11 other San Antonio-area high schools.
    The district said it would address the matter more fully Tuesday when schools reopen after the Labor Day holiday.
    Pascual Gonzalez, chief spokesman for Northside schools, said the district will interview game officials, coaches and students in an investigation in conjunction with the University Interscholastic League, which oversees athletics in Texas public schools.
    "It is not the good sportsmanlike behavior that we teach students," Gonzalez said. "Northside ISD will not tolerate this kind of behavior."

    Video of hits go viral, with 6 million views

    One of the videos of the incident went viral after being posted online. It had more than 6 million views by Tuesday morning.
    The video was recorded in the game's fourth quarter after two John Jay players, including its starting quarterback, had been ejected, according to CNN affiliate KSAT-TV in San Antonio. The video shows what otherwise seems like an innocuous running play -- except if you look well behind the play.
    That's where a John Jay safety lined up and sprinted seven yards into the back of the game official. The hat of the pin-striped official, who had been looking forward, flies off as he plummets to the ground.
    A second player then comes in, piling on the official.
    Marble Falls police note that videos show the incident "from the several different angles." The authorities also suggest it was no accident.
    "Two players from John Jay High School targeted one of the game officials and blindsided him," police said, "knocking him to the ground."
    The incident also caught the attention of the NFL Referees Association.
    "These types of actions against any game official at any level are inexcusable," said Jim Quirk, the group's executive director. "We fully support the suspensions of the players involved, along with a full and complete investigation by the Texas University Interscholastic League."