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Marble Falls ISD superintendent speaks about John Jay incident

Marble Falls Independent School District Superintendent Chris Allen says he is proud of the way his student-athletes and the Marble Falls community responded to controversy over two San Antonio John Jay players hitting a referee from behind during the Marble Falls game Sept. 4. File photo

JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER

MARBLE FALLS — Amidst all the attention surrounding the Marble Falls-John Jay high school football game, Marble Falls Independent School District Superintendent Chris Allen has remained silent to allow an investigation to be conducted without public influence or bias.

The investigation is the result of two San Antonio John Jay players hitting a game official from behind in the final minutes of Marble Falls’ 15-9 win Sept. 4. Several investigations have ensued since the incident, including a criminal one.

“I’ve tried to be respectful of the investigation process,” Allen said exclusively to DailyTrib.com. “But I do feel like it’s important to clarify at this point the fact that none of our students were involved in the negativity of that evening. There’s been some confusion because John Jay and Marble Falls High share the same mascot – we’re both Mustangs. I want to make it crystal clear to anybody who monitors any media that our students were not the ones who were involved in the incident. And I also want to make sure that we have an opportunity to just let folks know how proud we are of our kids.”

In addition, Allen said he wanted his student-athletes and the community to know he couldn’t be more pleased with how they did not respond after the contest.

“I think our athletes performed exceptionally well in that I could not be more proud of how well they reflected the values and beliefs of this community,” he said. “And their ability to stay focused on the job that they were trying to accomplish in the midst of some difficulty.

“I think the second thing that I would say is how proud I am of our fans and the folks in the stands for allowing the administrators to address and deal with the issue that evening,” he added. “They showed a faith and trust that things will work out as they should if we allow the process to run its course.

Marble Falls (1-1) entered the contest after losing to Burnet 30-15 on Aug. 28. Allen said he saw his student-athletes, who had trailed throughout the third quarter, find a way to win while holding the opponent to nine points.

“I think it’s unfortunate that that’s been overshadowed by the actions of a small number of people from the opponent that night,” he said. “I just want our community to know how proud I am and how proud MFISD is of our great kids and the wonderful community that supports them.”

The superintendent clarified other events that have been reported the past several days that haven’t been accurate.

One occurred during the State Executive Hearing conducted by the University Interscholastic League on Sept. 9. According to reports, MFISD officials declined to comment.

Allen said that’s not precise.

When a UIL representative asked if Marble Falls had anything to add during the hearing, the superintendent said he stood up.

“My comment was that we were available to answer questions that the UIL might have, that we did not have any new information to provide that had not already been covered,” he said. “We had provided the UIL committee with some information in writing prior to attending the committee meeting. So there was just nothing that we had to add. So it’s not that we declined to speak; it’s that we made ourselves available for questions.”

Another is the thought that MFISD officials provided footage of the incident to people who used it to create clips to load onto social media and websites. Allen said that didn’t happen.

He said coaches use HUDL, a web-based film exchange site, to load game footage. That’s how coaches now exchange film instead of personally delivering tapes.

While HUDL users have a login and a password, Allen said players and parents can create accounts to review plays and critique themselves.

“We wouldn’t want to change a practice that’s been extraordinarily beneficial to our athletes, very beneficial to our coaches over an isolated event (regarding the use of HUDL),” he said. “This benefits our athletes in many ways. One of which is that oftentimes folks who have access to that tape are college recruiters who have an opportunity to see our athletes and begin to make decisions about who they might come recruit.”

Still, Allen said he’s sure the processes will be reviewed at a later time but added the benefits have outweighed an isolated situation.

Plenty of wonderful traits about being apart of the MFISD community exist, he said, and he believes the same about Northside Independent School District, which includes John Jay High School.

“I know some of the people in that district, and I know those are good people who are doing good work every day,” he said. “And I would just hate for that whole community to be judged based on those actions.”

And while people continue to express opinions, request interviews or draw conclusions, Allen said he hopes what happened toward the end of the ballgame has not taken away from the accomplishment of defeating an opponent featuring a Division I athlete and other players who are fast, strong and refused to quit.

“Not for our athletes, I certainly hope not,” he said. “They’re the ones who put all the work in to make it happen. I think that although there was certainly a reaction that occurred during the course of the game that people were immediately proud of our athletes and proud of what had been accomplished.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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