East players involved in soccer brawl released from hospital

April 6, 2012 at 6:02 p.m.
Updated April 5, 2012 at 11:06 p.m.

Two Victoria East soccer players hospitalized Thursday night after their playoff win over San Antonio Harlandale were released from the hospital Friday.

Defender David Andrade and goalkeeper Esau Lopez were the players who received medical treatment.

East assistant coach Brady Cagle suspects Andrade suffered a broken nose in the incident. Midfielder Wyatt Fimbel was hurt but not hospitalized, his mother said.

The San Antonio Police Department said the Harlandale ISD police would be the agency investigating Thursday's assault. A call to that agency on Friday was not returned. Harlandale school officials agreed one of their players threw the first punch.

In a message to the Victoria Advocate on Friday afternoon, Fimbel's mother, Lisa, said her younger son, Wyatt, was not hospitalized. She chose to bring him home to Victoria after the brawl.

Players and coaches at East said they would seek charges against those responsible for the melee.

"He is doing (well) today and I am very thankful our team did not sustain any serious injuries," Lisa Fimbel said in the email.

"As far as the incident from last night, I would rather not focus on that, but rather focus on the valiant effort our team showed last night. From the beginning of the game, they played the way their coaches had asked them to play. With all of last night's frustrations, they handled themselves with integrity, character and dignity, the three things that the coaches expect of them."

She said she credited coach Tim Eaton and coach Cagle for their leadership that helped the players keep their composure under difficult circumstances.

Fimbel and fellow East soccer parent Kathy Stratmann credited the coaches for the "value system" they have instilled in the players.

"They work well together as a team, during the game and after the game," said Stratmann, whose son, Ricky, posted a shutout playing goal in Thursday's victory. "Coach Eaton is an awesome coach."

East did not practice Friday. Eaton gave his players the day off after a physically and mentally taxing week.

He said the team deserved it after playing two games in 48 hours, as well as the focus required to win both contests.

Because the Titans did not practice, and Victoria East did not have classes Friday, players were unavailable for comment.

"It will be real important that they have time to be kids," Eaton said. "I hope they remember the game more and focus on that. That is so neat for them accomplishing that."

Eaton and parents contacted Friday did not want to discuss the post-game melee, citing the need for the Harlandale ISD to continue its investigation before commenting

They wanted to recognize the effort of the players, part of the first Victoria soccer team to advance beyond the sectional round in more than a decade.

Wyatt's older brother, Cole, scored the only goal in the Titans 1-0 victory. East (18-3-2) will play the winner of Roma-Valley View in the Class 4A regional quarterfinals at a site and time to be determined.

"It was a total team effort," Eaton said. "Every player contributed and every player put in a great effort. The other stuff is unfortunate."

University Interscholastic League Athletic Director Mark Cousins said he was not aware of the incident. He transferred the call to the UIL compliance office, which was not available for comment on the holiday weekend.

VISD Athletic Director Ralph Escalona labeled the melee an "unfortunate occurrence" and said he does not blame Harlandale coaches, school officials, or the match officials, which were from the Houston chapter of the Texas Association of Sports Officials.

"They are out there trying to control the game," Escalona said. "It's impossible to control a kid's actions when you don't know what they are going to do. Harlandale had plenty of coaches, people and (School Resource Officers), but when you are going through a line, you can't control what a kid is thinking."

Advocate Assistant Sports Editor Clay Whittington contributed to this report.



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