Michael Christenson and other Highland fans watched in shock on Dec. 22 as multiple players on the Connell High School committed harsh fouls against Highland players. Both teams are located in the state of Washington -- Highland in Cowiche is part of the Highland School District while Connell is a member of the North Franklin School District.
Christenson filmed the incidents and posted the videotape to YouTube. The video has garnered over 33,000 views and more than 180 comments since that time.
In the video, particular players on Connell are caught delivering brutal hits to Highland players. Referees respond with simple foul calls, but no flagrant fouls, technicals or ejections are issued.
Officials in the school district are downplaying the incident, saying that similar activities go on in high schools across the country everyday.
"You could probably go through any person's game film and pull these same or similar incidents out," Steve Frucci, the district's athletic director told KVEW TV. "This just happened to be a person did that and posted it online."
Christenson isn't so sure. In an e-mail to KVEW TV, Christenson outlined his reasons for posting the video.
"I am happy that this video is getting a lot of attention, because I think the officiating in some of these high school games is appalling, and this video is getting people to talk about it. I also believe that if the video didn't contain any flagrant/controversial fouls--it never would have become popular, so that gives the video some credibility. I hope the WIAA will make some changes after seeing my video. The type of fouls that occurred in the Highland / Connell game cannot be allowed to continue, because someone will suffer a serious injury."
The video shows six instances where Christenson believes a flagrant foul should have been called against Connell.
In foul No. 1, a burly player for Connell (jersey No. 34) takes a swing at an airborne Highland player, sending him to the floor. Foul No. 2 shows a Connell player (No. 42) violently wrap up a Highland player from behind after a rebound.
In foul No. 3, jersey No. 34 makes another vicious swing at a driving Highland player, making no apparent play on the ball. Jersey No. 42 loses his cool in foul No. 4 after losing a loose ball and reacts by shoving a player without the ball.
Foul No. 5, perhaps the most egregious violation, shows jersey No. 34 yank down a Highland player in midair near the basket, sending him into a dangerous fall to the floor. The foul incites the crowd, who begin calling for referees to take further action. In foul No. 6, jersey No. 34 appears to club a player in the back of the head on a scrum near the basket.
The referees association for the area is reviewing the incident and has not yet released any findings regarding the officials in the game.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Video Source: YouTube (wazzumichael)