NEWTOWN — The East-West All-Star Classic is 2-for-2.
This year’s East-West football game, played on Saturday night at Mingo Central High School’s Buck Harless Stadium, was called with 9:14 left in the fourth quarter after a brawl erupted between East and West players.
The West was awarded the victory, 13-7, via TKO, over the East.
For the second year in a row the all-star clash was plagued by an on-field fight.
The latest incident seemed to further damage the credibility of the fledgling game, which is trying to expand its scope across the state and someday rival the North-South.
A brawl erupted in last year’s inaugural East-West game but players were separated after tensions simmered down and play continued.
That wasn’t the case on Saturday night.
After the fight, players were told to go to their locker rooms and the game was stopped.
It never resumed and the game was over.
The brawl spoiled an overall good game between the two evenly-matched teams.
The weather, clear and cool temperatures in the low 70s, was also picture-esque on top of the mountain at Harless Stadium, especially with the pretty sunset behind the locker room building.
Last year’s game featured poor weather as thick fog rolled in twice, limiting visibility for the players on the field.
There would be no fog this time, but just like last year, there would be another on-field fracas.
The fight happened early in the fourth quarter.
The game was a defensive struggle as both teams had problems moving the ball and keeping the chains moving.
The West, though, led the East 13-7 and had the ball in their own territory. The West looked to keep the clock running, sustain a drive and maybe march down field for another score to put the game away.
The West, though, saw its drive stall on its own 31 and were forced to punt on fourth-and-two.
A flag was then thrown by the officials.
West coach Joey Fields stepped across onto the field and appeared to be yelling at his own players about something.
Two East players seemed to interpret that they were getting yelled at. Fields and other players along the West bench said something back. The East players walked to within a few feet of the West bench area.
More words were exchanged.
A punch was thrown by a West representative at an East player and the situation ignited.
The fists flew and yet another brawl was on.
After a couple of moments, the fracas was broken up by coaches, game officials, police and other unidentified people.
Players were told to head to their locker rooms.
An announcement was made that the game over.
There would be no on-field player awards, team pictures or trophy presentations.
The West All-Stars were made up of graduated senior players primarily from Mingo, Logan, Wayne and Boone counties with a smattering of others from the Charleston and Greater Kanawha Valley.
The East was comprised by graduated senior players from Man High School, Wyoming, McDowell, Mercer and Raleigh counties, including gridders from tradition rich Bluefield and Beckley Woodrow Wilson high schools.
The East-West game replaced the old Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl which ran from 1996-2013 and pitted top graduated seniors from southern West Virginia against those from eastern Kentucky.
The Hatfield-McCoy Bowl was also plagued by fights and tensions between the two teams. At least one Senior Bowl in the past was stopped early after a brawl.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1730, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).