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6 kids, 1 adult arrested in brawl that disrupts Boston high school football game

A major brawl interrupted a competitive football game between Boston-area high school teams and resulted in the arrests of six teen suspects and one adult.

“It’s really a shame, because all athletic directors across the state work very hard to run good events and safe events,” Mike Lahiff, the athletic director at Cambridge Matignon High School, told the Herald Saturday. “We all work very hard to pull a good event off and this was an unfortunate situation by an outside group.”

The game between Braintree’s Archbishop Williams High School and the coalition team made up of Cambridge Matignon, Boston’s Cathedral and Cristo Rey high schools was well underway at Northeastern University’s William E. Carter Playground on Columbus Avenue when Lahiff said that a fight broke out between juveniles attending the game who he said were not recognized by administrators as students of any of the four schools.

Police were called at around 6:19 p.m. Friday for a fight that began in the tennis courts behind the stands of the coalition team, according to the Boston Police Department. Many officers were already on the scene, as administrators had requested their presence as a security measure, Lahiff said. Within five minutes of the call, he said, there were 20-some police officers.

“It became a mob of kids just running around,” Lahiff said of confusion at the scene.

By the end of it all, three 15-year-old teens — two girls and one boy — were arrested along with a 16-year-old boy and two 17-year-old boys on various charges related to the melee. Charges include affray for the 16-year-old and disorderly conduct for all of the rest, in addition to various charges of resisting arrest. The 15-year-old boy was also charged with assault and battery.

An adult was also listed by the BPD among those arrested. Chiquela Howard, 37, of Weymouth, was charged with disorderly conduct, assault and battery, assault and battery on a police officer and resisting arrest.

“While on scene, officers’ attention was drawn to a large group of juveniles forming on a nearby tennis court,” a BPD spokesman wrote in a statement. The officers approached and saw a fight with “multiple juveniles watching. “As the juveniles began to disperse, they observed a male, later identified as the 16-year-old male, laying on the ground.”

The police say he refused to cooperate and fled on foot and was soon lost “in the large crowd that had become increasingly unruly and hostile toward officers,” prompting police to call for backup — all of the available units were called to “help control the crowd.”

Lahiff said that administrators had done everything they normally do to prevent any hijinks from disrupting the game and said that he had even picked up fluorescent vests from Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association for all school administrators to wear.

“There was an awful lot of supervision there to control this game,” he said, adding that all the students, including the football players, cheerleaders and crew were on great behavior and showed great sportsmanship throughout the game.

Archbishop Williams won 21–18 that night. Lahiff said his team next plays Friday night at Bishop Stang High School in Dartmouth.

The brawl came the same day that another area high school football coach tendered his resignation after two years on the job, citing his reason for leaving as “100 percent parental harassment and disrespect.”

“All I’ve ever wanted to be was a head coach close to home,” Cardinal Spellman coach Kahn Chace told the Herald. “I know this will affect my future, but it’s the best for my family and my mental health.”

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