There were fights on the field and fights in the stands. In between brawls, there was some football. Not particularly good football, but it's July.
The East defeated the West, 14-0, Friday night at Pierce College in a sloppily played Daily News high school all-star game that was scoreless until the last eight minutes.
Fights on and off the field prompted a Los Angeles Community College security officer to give a stern warning to game officials midway through the second half.
"I'm going to have to terminate the game," the officer threatened.
Despite two more fights on the field, the game went on, although the 5,500 fans might not have noticed if action had ceased. It never really got started.
The East finally put together a leisurely 85-yard scoring drive that began late in the third quarter and ended with 8:00 left in the game on a one-yard plunge by quarterback John Alaimo. A 17-yard gain by Lance Harper on which he reversed his field was the most impressive play of the march. Harper had 80 yards on 15 carries.
Brent Spurlin replaced an ineffective Dan Nagelmann at quarterback for the West after the touchdown and threw an interception on his second play.
Riche Swinton, who gained 80 yards on 14 carries, promptly fumbled on the East's second play, which gave Nagelmann a chance to throw an interception of his own. Linebacker Larry Muir made the pick-off and returned it 41 yards for the East's second score with 4:33 left. Jay Carballo, who also had two interceptions, kicked both extra points.
Other players wanted to kick rear ends.
"I just had to hold up the East's pride," said Cory Thabit of why he became involved in a third-quarter brawl with the West's Marc Newman. Thabit, incidentally, will attend Harvard University in the fall, but brawn got the better of everyone's brain on this balmy evening.
Said West co-Coach Dave Murphy, who doubled as a fight referee while pulling apart numerous players: "I went out there to break it up and found myself saying, 'What am I doing out here?' Those were some pretty big boys."
And boys will be boys, as displayed by the attitude of the East's Hugo Correa.
"That's the way of the game," Correa said. "The game is rough."
Rough particularly on the West. A helicopter repeatedly circled the field early in the second half, perhaps searching for the West's offense.
Nagelmann, who passed for 482 yards and seven touchdowns in last month's Ventura County all-star game, completed only 4 of 12 passes for 38 yards. Highly touted receivers Mike Trevathan of Thousand Oaks and Monty Gilbreath of Taft had only three catches between them. Spurlin passed for 28 yards and the West rushed for just 25 yards, giving the team 91 total yards.
"We felt we'd be able to move the ball a little bit better than we did," Murphy said.
The East gained 398 yards, including 236 in the second half, but lost four fumbles. Alaimo completed 8 of 11 passes for 62 yards.
Despite gaining 162 yards in the first half, the East couldn't get on the scoreboard. Alaimo and Andrew Sherman combined to hit 8 of 11 passes, all but one on out patterns to the left side.
Other than those out passes to the left, however, the offenses were left out.
The anemic West offense gained only 41 yards in the first half. West rushers gained 14 yards on 14 carries, Nagelmann was 0 for 4 passing and Spurlin was 2 for 3 for 27 yards.
The East was better at moving the ball. So good, in fact, that three times the ball moved right out of the hands of East runners and onto the field where it was recovered by West defenders. The three fumbles, all of which occurred in West territory, kept the game scoreless.
Harper dropped the ball on the West 45 with 5:31 left in the first quarter and again on the West 26 with 45 seconds left.
The most costly fumble, however, was by Al Roberson at the West 11 with 4:59 left in the half. The East, helped by a personal foul penalty on a punt, had driven from its own 20 to the 25 before Roberson fumbled at the end of a 14-yard run.
Sean Grady, the West's wide receiver who had not attempted a kick in his career until Friday night, missed from 38 yards with 10:33 left in the first half. Carballo missed from 45 yards on the last play of the half.
This game will be remembered mostly for the extra-curricular activity. By the fourth quarter, the slugging and the sluggish play prompted many of those involved in organizing the game to shake their heads in disbelief.
"This is my worst nightmare," said Eric Sondheimer, a Daily News sportswriter who helped organize the event.