Police step in when bad blood lingers on the field

EL SOBRANTE — After the game Friday night, the Richmond police made the call. The cops saw the tension, felt the ugly vibe and decided it was time to play it safe. A brawl felt entirely too possible.

Analy and El Cerrito, the cops told the players and coaches of the respective teams, don't shake hands. Just go. Leave the field.

"At that point," said Analy principal Chris Heller, "that was probably the best decision."

Heller was at midfield. So were two Richmond policemen. The three men were in the middle of raised voices, pointed fingers, words with very suggestive references. Teams were there as teams are supposed to do after a game, to shake hands, to congratulate each other, to remind each other, if nothing else, that this was a game that was just played, not an excuse for a fight. However, this was as far from a kumbaya moment as you could get.

The tension wasn't because of one team contesting the skill level of the other, or that the game was somehow decided in the last second by a disputed play. No, Analy was beaten and clearly beaten by a better team. El Cerrito won the NCS Division 3 semifinal, 40-20.

"They were faster in person and more athletic than even what we saw on tape," said Analy coach Dan Bourdon.

Are they good enough to reach the state championship game in Carson?

Measuring his words very carefully, Bourdon replied, "They are athletic enough."

Yes, Bourdon would never dispute that. But any game, especially at the high school level, is about more than just winning.

It's winning with class.

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