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Win by Campus Magnet marred by controversy, early stoppage

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Campus Magnet’s 16-6 win against Boys & Girls in PSAL City Championship division football yesterday will come with an asterisk after a wild scene forced referees to stop the contest with 3:37 remaining.

The official ruling was unsportsmanlike conduct by the Boys & Girls coaching staff, according to PSAL football commissioner Al Arbuse, who was in attendance.

It all started when Campus Magnet extended its lead to 14-6 with a 3-yard run by Wavell Wint. Bulldogs running back Raeshawn Lewis ran the ball on an attempted 2-point conversion and fumbled, but it seemed to come after he crossed the plane of the end zone. Officials didn’t make a call immediately and the Boys & Girls coaches sent out their kickoff return unit thinking their team was down just one score.

But during a conference, two of the four referees determined that Lewis had crossed the plane, according to Arbuse, and head official Eugene Williams made the touchdown sign, whipping the Boys & Girls coaching staff into a frenzy. Two assistant coaches ran onto the field in protest and head coach Barry O’Connor and top assistant Clive Harding were eventually ejected.

“You can’t wait that long to tell us the 2 was good,” Harding said. “Either it’s good when the play happens or it’s not.”

When the coaches continued arguing with officials, school safety agents ran out onto the field and one of them pulled out handcuffs, which further incensed O’Connor and his staff.

“Why is he on the field with handcuffs?” O’Connor said. “This is a football game.”

As the argument escalated, officials decided to end it early. Meanwhile, a few Boys & Girls assistant coaches argued with Campus Magnet fans, who were on the sidewalk on the other side of the fence, and a heated Kangaroos assistant pulled his pants down and mooned the crowd of people.

Arbuse said a judgment call by officials could not be appealed and it’s up to the PSAL to determine how long O’Connor and his assistants would be suspended. Referees declined comment.

“The game stands as is,” Arbuse said.

Earlier, both coaching staffs were upset about the presence of sideline referee Roberto Pinder. O’Connor said he was a former Campus Magnet assistant and Bulldogs head coach Eric Barnett admitted as much, saying a disgruntled Pinder left the program five years ago because he was not given the varsity defensive coordinator job.

Pinder declined comment, referring all questions to Arbuse.

“I don’t know anything about that,” Arbuse said. “He wasn’t a paid coach, not to my knowledge.”

Lost in all the chaos was a gritty performance by Campus Magnet (2-1). Wint rushed for 147 yards on 21 carries with two touchdowns and the Bulldogs defense kept Boys & Girls (1-2) off the scoreboard in the second half.

“At the end of the day, we marched 77 yards [on the final drive],” Barnett said. “At the end of the day, we were winning before that drive.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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