Tempers flared and it led to two ejections during Saint Louis’ 49-22 victory over Kahuku in the Open Division semifinals of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Football State Championships on Friday.
For Saint Louis, it’s a blow, since defensive back Brian Cox will now be ineligible for the championship game against Mililani on Saturday.
Cox was defending Kahuku’s Thorton Alapa on a pass play on the sideline when they got into a heated exchange. They were both flagged for throwing a punch, and by rule, that means an automatic ejection and a one-game suspension.
Saint Louis is considering appealing to the HHSAA, according to head coach Cal Lee.
But so far, the school has not appealed. Part of the reason is that — also by rule — for something like that to get overturned, according to HHSAA officials coordinator Matt Sumstine, there has to be compelling video evidence.
Spectrum’s TV broadcast did not show the altercation. It occurred well after the play and there had been a roughing the passer penalty also called that drew people’s attention. Lee checked with his own team videographer. Nothing. They called Kahuku to see if they had anything. Still nothing.
Hawaii Prep World’s Paul Honda checked and did not have footage of it. It’s still possible that Aloha Stadium’s Stadium Stars broadcasting mentoring program has something, or maybe somebody else at the game who happened to be filming.
For now, Cox is officially out of Saturday’s finale against Mililani.
Chris Chun, the executive director of the HHSAA, said he was in the press box and observed what looked like punches from both players being thrown. He also said the official who made the call was in between the two players and in a good spot to make a judgment.
Sterling Carvalho, the Kahuku coach, did not see the play, but he spoke with Alapa afterward. Carvalho does not recall exactly what Alapa said, but he did get the impression from Alapa that punches were indeed thrown.
Sumstine said punches are infractions, whether they hit a target or not.