Football series has hazy future

After apologies from his counterparts in Half Moon Bay, Sequoia Union High School District Superintendent Pat Gemma said he is hopeful football teams from his district will play on the coast again, but much of that future rides on the investigation into violence and racial slurs stemming from a football game on Nov. 2.

According to players from Redwood City’s Sequoia High School, players and fans from Half Moon Bay High School allegedly screamed racial epithets at junior varsity and varsity players during their games, and unknown assailants allegedly threw rocks, eggs and food at players and fans. Streakers also are said to have disrupted the event by running naked across the field, at one point pushing a Sequoia player.

Gemma said he was pleased with the apologies — both written and verbal — from Half Moon Bay High School and the Cabrillo Unified School District, but said that the investigations would continue to locate the alleged perpetrators.

“If whatever happened was a crime, absolutely we would press for charges, and I know that the Cabrillo district would support that,” he said. “Whatever we do, it will be in partnership with them. We’re all on the same page with that.”

According to a statement released Tuesday by the Cabrillo district office, “the referee has publicly stated he heard no racial comments,” and “the Half Moon Bay Football coaches have stated they heard no racial epithets.”

Last week, Sequoia Principal Morgan Marchbands said she was reviewing tapes of the game with her football players to pinpoint when and where the alleged epithet-hurlers were.

The district is not pursuing claims of unidentified people throwing eggs and rocks at Sequoia players, because the incidents took place off district property.

According to defensive tackle Siosifa Lauese, 16 — who said he heard racial slurs being used by people in the Half Moon Bay stands — rocks struck their bus as they left the parking lot after the game.

The situation was so volatile that Half Moon Bay police Capt. Michael O’Malley said officers escorted the bus away. The department also sent officers to Friday’s game at Terra Nova High School as a precaution.

Unless a victim comes forward and presses charges in response to the alleged item-throwing, O’Malley said, the department would be taking no action.

“We would have to have a victim come forth, but as far as I know the two schools have decided to work it all out between themselves,” he said.

jgoldman@examiner.com

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