NIAA punishes Basic & Canyon Springs: The Anatomy of the Pepper Spray Brawl

William Levi, Publisher
Nevada Prep Report

Although Canyon Springs and Basic football programs have never played in the same division, but they have found themselves battling on the field every year since 2010. With games coming in the playoffs, the programs are even at 4-4 in that span with the Pioneers winning four of the last six contest.

Friday, the programs found themselves involved in an ugly end of the game incident that garnered national attention when a Clark County School District Police officer used pepper spray to regain the peace during an end of game brawl.

Today, a verdict was handed down by the NIAA that both programs would be forfeiting the 2017 contest while also forfeiting the game to follow. That verdict is based on the rule book that says if “three or more members of a team engage in a physical altercation, the team is guilty of committing an unsportsmanlike act and must incur a forfeit.”

With two programs based 24 miles apart with one hailing from city of Henderson and the other from the city of North Las Vegas, it's tough to understand how a non-division game could possibly end in such an incident so early in the season.

The factors behind the end of game outburst?  

For the Basic Wolves, Friday night was a big event for the program with the football program hosting the Homecoming game for the original high school of the city of Henderson. Celebrating the their 75th anniversary, much of the programs alumni were in attendance with an energy filled atmosphere with the school holding a 1-1 record on the football field this season.

Across the way, the Canyon Springs Pioneers were focusing on local play after a close loss to Northern California power Clayton Valley Charter and a game one loss to Southern California contender St Augustine. Holding a 1-2 record this season, the Pioneers entered the game prepping for another run at a Sunrise Northeast Title.

The final score indicated a much more even contest than the actual game played on the field.

Basic jumped out to an early 3-0 lead but the Pioneers controlled the game the rest of the half effectively moving the ball on offense with four trips the the red zone with two stalled by penalties. They also had a long scoring run taken off the board. With a swarming and physical defense, the Pioneers 14-3 halftime score still appeared insurmountable.

Penalty calls gave the Wolves a spark when they converted a 4th & goal at the three into a touchdown midway through the third quarter. With a bit of momentum, the energy of the game went up but an interception that Canyon Springs’ Jonathan Bailey would return for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter would see the tension on the field increase as it the clock continued to tick.

In the closing minutes of the game, the Pioneers Knylen Miller would appear to clinch the game with the Pioneers fourth interception of the game but the hustle of Jordan Gallegos would see him cause a fumble by Miller on the return that Gallegos would recover at the 21-yard line. Four plays later Basic would enter the end zone with 51-seconds on the clock down 20-15.

Appearing that the Pioneers would run out the clock, the Wolves use of their last two timeouts forced the Pioneers to punt with 10-seconds remaining on the clock. Producing a strong punt, the Pioneers punt coverage team made a mistake. Rather than letting the ball bounce until the clock would run out, a Pioneer player touched the ball when he saw it bounce back towards him leaving 2-seconds on the clock giving Basic one more semblance of hope.

Pulling out the tricks, Basic used a hook and ladder on the final play with nifty running Dorian McCallister to take the ball to the 18-yard line but the Pioneers would swarm the ball forcing him to retreat back to the Canyon Springs’ 30 before he would fumble. Canyon Springs’ star defensive lineman Germaine Carmena scoop up the ball before sprinting the other way towards the endzone before stepping out of bounds at the Basic 40.

With the Pioneers breaking out in celebration on the field 4 hours and 10 minutes after the game began, the brawl began moments later that would land in the national news over the weekend ending in team suspensions.

There is a lesson for all athletes playing sports:

Keep the emotions in check, handle yourself in a respectable way on the field and win, or lose do it, with grace.

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