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In 2006 Jason McElwain, a high school basketball manager with autism, was put into a blowout and proceeded to knock down six three-pointers in just four minutes. Nearly a decade later this has become a Thing in high school sports—letting a student with special needs get into a game for a play or a couple of minutes—and now we're seeing the ugly fruit that has spawned.

Thursday night was the final regular season football contest between Phoenix North Canyon and Glendale Mountain Ridge high schools. Mountain Ridge had a comfortable fourth quarter lead, so they inserted a student with special needs on defense. Apparently they failed to inform North Canyon, and on the ensuing play the North Canyon tight end blocked the student with special needs onto the ground. As the tight end was walking back to the huddle, he got blindsided by a Mountain Ridge Player. Via The Arizona Republic:

"We just thought he was a regular football player," [the North Canyon coach] said. "Our guy made a football play.

"They were booing, and we didn't know why. One of their kids came out of nowhere and blind-sided our kid, and it sparked it big time. … It's pretty frustrating. It got out of hand fast."


"Sparked it big time" is quite the understatement. A brawl broke out on the field, which induced everybody on the sidelines for both teams to rush in and join. They were all automatically ejected, leaving neither team with enough players to finish the game, so it was ruled a forfeit for both. The Arizona Interscholastic Association is investigating the incident, and will address it during their November board meeting.

The kicker on the original article is perfect, so we're just going to repeat it here:

Mountain Ridge finishes 1-9 and North Canyon 0-10, counting the forfeit for both teams.

Update: We've posted video of a KNXV news broadcast about the incident up top, which shows most of the play. You can see the student with special needs—Vincent Stover—getting absolutely manhandled by the North Canyon TE, as well as one of the Mountain Ridge players sprinting over and presumably (it isn't shown) deliver the blindside hit. Footage of the brawl isn't shown, but there are interviews with both Stover and his mother, where he says that he was still getting blocked after the whistle had already blown.

[The Arizona Republic]

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