Arsenal Tech players accept punishments from fight

Tech football players gather at practice Wednesday.

The football team at Arsenal Tech High School is facing their punishment from the Indiana High School Athletic Association, head on, much like the offensive line does at practice.

"You don't run from it. You don't hide from it. You accept responsibility. You accept the punishment as it is laid out," said Arsenal Tech's head football coach, Emil Ekiyor.

For nine of the players, four of them seniors, that means missing this Saturday's game, which is also senior night.

"That's a night you can't get back," Ekiyor told his team at practice Wednesday. "The guys that can't play, I'll find out if you can even come to the game."

Ekiyor told the team he won't be there. He's not allowed, as part of a punishment handed down this week from the IHSAA. The sanctions came after an on-field brawl broke out between players, coaches and fans from Tech and Fort Wayne Southside High School.

"I can't come to the game and that's gonna hurt. I gotta miss your senior night," he told his team.

Coach Ekiyor said the punishments handed down because of the fight have been a hard lesson for everyone, but a necessary one.

"You can't control the punishment. You accept what's laid down, 'cause you did do something wrong and you grew from it and you got better from it," said Ekiyor. "I don't know how else we could have taught the lesson that came from this incident, without the incident happening.

"In every bad, there's some good that comes out of it. And that's a good thing, guys. Hopefully, we understand that we're together, we know who we are. We gotta keep working."

The IHSAA will be watching. They'll have a representative at Tech football games the rest of the season.

"The challenge to the kids is everybody's going to be watching you now. Everybody's going to want to see what you're about, who you are. It's an opportunity to show the whole world that we have class, that we have a bunch of great kids that want to do things the right way," said Ekiyor.

This time, the right way became even more apparent after the wrong way was chosen.

"We all we got. We all we need. We all we got. We all we need," chanted the team at the end of practice.