It was ugly.
"It was a powder keg about to explode," said Northern coach Ike Hemphill.
"I've been around it 20 years, and I've never seen anything like that," said Patterson coach Roger Wrenn.
Officials at Patterson's 55-16 win over Northern yesterday stopped the game with 1 minute, 50 seconds left because of an increasing number of personal fouls. During the game, there were five personal fouls called against Northern and two against Patterson, and two players from each team were ejected.
However, ending the game early did not end the trouble. When the teams lined up for the ceremonial handshake after the game, a brawl broke out.
Hemphill said the fight started when Patterson's Edward Harrington punched Hemphill while the teams exchanged handshakes in a show of good sportsmanship.
"After the kid hit me, I went to one of the Patterson coaches and said, 'Did you see that?' " said Hemphill. "All he could say was, 'You're lucky the whole team didn't attack you.' "
Patterson's Mike Branch disagreed. He said Northern tight end Amard Linton spit on one of his teammates, starting the fight that lasted for about 10 minutes before the game officials and school security guards were able to intervene.
"I am absolutely disgusted of that spectacle that took place," said Wrenn. "That has no place in high school football. I am appalled and embarrassed."
Hemphill said: "I tried to do everything I could to prevent the situation. The officials let this thing get out of hand early."
None of the game officials was available for comment, but Wrenn said he had contacted Jim Diggs, commissioner of officials for MSA games, and asked for a game report from the four officials.
"I'm just sick about the whole thing," Wrenn said.
In the game, the Clippers (8-1 overall 3-0 in conference) clinched at least a tie for the MSA B Conference, Division I regular-season title and can win it outright with a win over Walbrook on Thursday.
Patterson quarterback Buddy Edmond threw three touchdown passes and kicked two field goals to lead an offense that gained 374 yards total. He completed nine of 17 passes for 189 yards.