A.I. Prince Technical School voluntarily forfeited Saturday’s football game vs. Thames River Co-Op following a school investigation into a postgame fight that took place with Cheney Tech players following a 22-14 Cheney Tech victory on Saturday in Hartford.
A.I. Prince Tech principal Daniel Mello confirmed that he made the decision after his administration conducted interviews with players from the team and with input from head coach, Michael Scott.
“It was because of some unsportsmanlike behavior,” Mello said of the decision. “There was more-or-less some pushing and shoving in the postgame line… which are things we don’t expect from our student athletes at Prince Tech. We decided this was the best possible action.”
Prince Tech informed CIAC of its decision on Wednesday. CIAC spokesman Joel Cookson said only that the state’s governing body received the paperwork for the forfeit request from Prince Tech and directed further inquires to the school.
According to a witness unaffiliated with either school, a brawl erupted between the two teams in the postgame handshake line only minutes after Cheney Tech scored the eventual winning touchdown with 1:20 remaining.
The witness said police and emergency personnel were immediately called to the field as coaches from both sides attempted to separate the two sides. One player was hit on the head with a helmet in the postgame line, which started the fight, the witness said.
Mello said “no one was severely hurt” from the incident, however. A call seeking comment from Cheney Tech principal Robert Sartoris was not immediately returned, neither was a call to Cheney Tech football coach Adam Starvish.
Mello would not comment on any specific school disciplinary actions, but did not rule out future forfeits by the team.
“I think it depends on how our athletes conduct themselves going forward,” he said. “I expect our athletes to conduct themselves in a respectful manner and play hard. Participating in athletics is a privilege and not a right. Our athletes should be held to a higher standard than just wins and losses.
“Nothing is set in stone, it pretty much depends on the reaction of our kids going forward.”
The forfeit dropped Prince Tech to 2-4. The school’s next scheduled game is Oct. 26 vs. Wilcox Tech.