BLACKFOOT – There was a high school girls soccer game on Saturday – a big one, too. Sugar-Salem knocked off American Falls 4-1 in a state play-in game to earn a bid to the 3A state tournament. With about 15 minutes remaining, as the majority of the crowd sprinted on the pitch, most of them forgot about that.
After a perceived missed call by the “Sugar-Salem refs,” frustration took over for American Falls coach Brett Reed. He began shouting at head referee Jake McRae, urging him to call it both ways with some colorful language thrown in. Then, the real kicker, he chucked his black and white Beavers hat at the ref. And with the 30 mph wind gusts blowing in that direction, the cap probably spiraled a good 20 yards.
McRae shot a red card up almost instantly, yelling at Reed to “Get out of here.”
“You don’t want it to end like this,” Reed said after the game. “My behavior was not warranted.”
With his hat collected, the ejected Reed walked along the sideline and looked to be headed toward the street. Brett’s wife Lacey Reed jogged from the opposite sideline, where the parents were seated, trying to calm her husband down, she said later.
Feeling her husband’s anger, she claimed she shouted “You suck” at McRae and the two other referees working Saturday’s play-in game at Blackfoot High School. As she was doing so, she was passing the northwest end of the field, within shouting distance of a Sugar-Salem player.
Hearing the comment and not knowing who it was directed at, the Sugar-Salem player, as confirmed by many who heard it, shouted back, “You suck,” and shot her middle finger up in the direction of Lacey Reed. Approached afterward, the Sugar-Salem player declined to comment.
“When I was trying to get the refs attention – like, she’s flipping me off and yelling at me, like, is that allowed? – that’s when she, like, started to come towards me really fast, and I’m just trying to wave the refs down,” Lacey Reed said.
“I was trying to pull my wife back and tell the (Sugar-Salem player) to stay there,” Brett Reed added.
Perhaps. But what it apparently looked like to others in attendance was Brett Reed feverishly charging at a high school girl. Though he didn’t lay a finger on the Diggers’ player, parents from the Sugar-Salem side sprinted toward Reed with a bounce that made them look like seniors in high school themselves.
Blackfoot boys soccer coach Liam Pope and athletic director Cody Shelley, who were waiting for the game to end so they could pick up the equipment, darted in and tried to get in the middle of Reed and a few parents. Other spectators joined and, eventually, the tussle broke up with no punches thrown.
Following the incident, McRae called the game about 15 minutes before full time.
It concluded a game in which Sugar-Salem rattled off four goals after a quick score from American Falls’ captain McKenzie Long. For the Diggers, sophomore Ellie Puzey netted a goal and senior Sunny Bennion recorded a hat trick, highlighted by a wind-aided 40-yard direct free kick that came in like a laser, bouncing off the A.F. goalie’s hands and over the line.
The Sugar-Salem players, trying to steer their minds from some of their parents almost fighting an opposing coach, let out an unfortunately-mild celebration upon the whistle that earned them a state bid.
From here, expect an investigation and discipline from the Idaho High School Activities Association. Lance Taylor, who was on-site broadcasting the game for IdahoSports.com, said the site will send the video to the IHSAA for evidence. McRae said he plans on filing a report with the state and “(letting) them do what they want to do with it.”
“I mean, there’s a lot of emotions that go into soccer in general, and there were just some emotions that boiled over,” Sugar-Salem coach Scott Terry said. “You get a little excited when a lot is on the line and you’ve given so much.”
Girls soccer 3A state play-in game. Final: American Falls — 1 Sugar-Salem — 4