MARBLE FALLS, Texas (KXAN) — Marble Falls police are now investigating after they say two high school football players from San Antonio targeted and blindsided a referee in their game Friday night.
Bill Steffek pulls out a striped jersey he hung up two years ago, after retiring as a referee from the Austin Football Officials Association. But he still observes other refs from the stands to make sure they’re doing their best.
“I can give them some guidance or some points after a ball game if I see something that I thought was unusual or out of whack,” says Bill.
Something was definitely out of whack at Friday night’s game in Marble Falls. Only it was what the John Jay High School players did to the referee, one slamming him to the ground, another piling on after the fall.
In his 50 years of working as a ref, Bill says he’s only seen something similar one other time.
“Thirty or 35 years ago, it happened in a game like that, where one of the officials was intentionally ran into. That’s really uncalled for, that’s not the sport,” says Bill.
Avoiding physical contact with football players is something Bill and every ref has to master.
“Position yourself so you allow yourself enough room between the ball-carriers or the players, so that you can get out of the way,” says Bill.
Whether Friday night’s collision was preventable is now up to investigators to decide. The Marble Falls Police Department is leading this investigation. They say once all the interviews are done, they will present the case to the Burnet County attorney’s office, and if they decide to prosecute, then arrests will be made.
So far no charges have been filed against the two John Jay players, but they have been suspended. The Texas University Interscholastic League is also investigating and working with both school districts.