Adelanto and Orange Vista football teams learned a lesson about good sportsmanship the hard way this week.

The two teams met in a CIF Southern Section Division 12 semifinal game on Nov. 22. The game was called early in the third quarter with Adelanto up 41-0 when there was a fight on the field between a couple of players. That fight resulted in athletes from both sidelines rushing onto the field.

The CIF ruled the game a double forfeit on Nov. 24, citing violation of Bylaw 2027, which states that any player ejected from a game is ineligible to participate in the following game. All but five or six members of the Adelanto team, and all of Orange Vista’s players rushed onto the field and were ejected. Here’s the rule: “Any  players who leave the bench area to start or contribute to an altercation can receive ejection from the contest. Any player ejected from a contest is ineligible to participate in the following game.”

With the ruling, El Monte was declared the Division 12 champion without having to play a down. El Monte beat Jurupa Hills 22-15 in the other semifinal game Nov. 22.

The CIF Southern Section office issued a press release Nov. 24 announcing the double forfeit. “In order to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes, the member schools of the CIF-SS enacted regulations to eliminate or at least minimize the risk of harm to our student-athletes during an athletic contest,” the statement reads. “This rule was adopted by our member schools to ensure that no student-athletes leave the bench or team area whenever a physical altercation takes place.”

Misconduct and unsportsmanlike conduct seem to become more common at the high school level every year. It is up to coaches and parents to instill in their student-athletes the responsibility, good work ethics and good sportsmanship. High school athletics are part of the overall education program where good citizenship outweighs the final score in importance.

Orange Vista was losing big on

Nov. 22 so it’s not clear how effective this punishment will be in teaching these young men the lesson of being good sports. Adelanto, on the other hand, lost out on a chance to win a second straight CIF title. It’s a lesson they are learning the hard way. But perhaps it’s good for them in the long run. This is a lesson that is sure to stick in their minds for years to come.

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