NHR Video of Lewis Mills-North Branford “brawl”

Yes, there is finally public video of the North Branford-Lewis Mills brawl published today by the New Haven Register.

What started it: Lewis Mills’ No. 2 pushes North Branford No. 61 hard over Lewis Mills’ 78, who then takes exception to 78 rolling over him like that. 76 gets up to confront him, pushes 78 down again with the help of No. 2. And as he’s still trying to get up, the two Mills’ players push No. 33

That’s when the movie cuts. Not sure how much time elapses.

Movie resumes and there’s clearly more than 11 Lewis Mills players falling around several North Branford players. The Lewis Mills team has also charged onto the field. The North Branford coaches run onto the field with about 4 North Branford players joining them. The rest of the team, save about four kids, follows. It’s hard to see, but it really doesn’t look like they contribute much outside of maybe one or two additional players.

Things appear to calm down some as referees and coaches get into the middle of it. There’s a side scuffle, between North Branford 21 and Lewis Mills 34

A couple of thoughts as I watch this:

1. That’s it?

2. Lewis Mills players appear to create this fracas.

3. Regardless of what you see happen, unless you were there in the middle of it, you still don’t get the full story. You get some, but not all. The head referee deemed it necessary to eject everybody in uniform, even those who ran onto the field. That means everybody dressed in this one must miss the next game.

4. I really find it hard to fault North Branford for this. I wasn’t there. The video cuts at a crucial moment. But, Lewis Mills appeared to go all-in. North Branford’s response was reactionary — at least according to this evidence.

5. Does this mean North Branford should forfeit the whole game? I’m kind of torn by this. Part of me wants to lay down the law to make sure everybody knows this behavior is not acceptable.

But the other half of me says, North Branford really got baited into this situation and didn’t deserve to lose this game to forfeit just for sticking up for its teammates, who were obviously getting pummeled with nobody to protect them. And it wasn’t like North Branford’s players really just jumped in there. Most of them just stopped at the edge.

Then again, the game really couldn’t continue at this point, regardless. So does North Branford deserve a win?

I don’t know. It’s a tough call. The referee made one. I guess there really was no other reasonable alternative but to rely in his judgement.We can’t have this garbage, no matter what.

It’s a damn shame.

Sean Patrick Bowley

24 Responses

  1. THS Fan says:

    Much ado about nothing definately an overreaction by the officials looked more like a scuffle than a brawl! Offsetting penalties and a warning would have sufficed. just my opinion.

  2. Pequot says:

    I feel it had more to do with the reputations going in. North Branford has the reputation as a dirty team and every team who has played Lewis Mills has come away thinking two things: First that was the worst team I’ve ever seen play football, and second that was the dirtiest team I’ve ever seen play football.

    Every play for Lewis Mills is like Legarrette Blount punching the guy from Boise St. The team is no class and makes North Branford look like forty Mother Theresas.

  3. fred says:

    No Chat tonight?

  4. ray brown says:

    ive seen cheerleaders hit harder

  5. Remmy says:

    Who’d ever think a school named “Lewis-Mills” was so hardcore. Thuggish ruggish bone right there.

  6. The Dude says:

    Thankfully the lady in the video let us all know who instigated it.

  7. Yes. I didn’t catch it the first 8 times.

  8. If it had nothing to do with playoff points, you wouldn’t even be hearing a peep out of me.

  9. jeb says:


    Could you please explain how many bonus points a Class M school gets for beating an L or LL school. Are they penalized for beating a CLASS S school.

  10. @jeb – M gets an extra 10 for beating an L or LL. S gets an extra 20.

    Large schools don’t get penalized for beating M & S schools, unless they’re not from the same league. So Greenwich gets the flat 100 for beating St. Joseph. But if, say, Notre Dame-WH played and beat St. Joseph, it would only get 80.

  11. Dr. Von Nostran says:

    @Jeb – everything you need to know can be found here (it’s a great reference and available for every sport):


    # of boys per school on page 8,
    playoff point formula on page 10.

  12. Jeff says:

    Hmmm, Sean, that’s not what I see on the video. The NHR spliced it to first show two late hits by N Branford that perhaps are intended to show why Lewis Mills perceived NB as playing dirty. On the play that started the brawl, NB #34 fights off a block and takes down LM back #4 by the legs while NB #56 spins and immediately falls on top of him. LM #61 then falls on NB #56 (apparently thinking this was a case of piling on; it wasn’t) and forcefully pushes him off the ball carrier. NB #56 takes exception to being rolled, gets up, and pushes LM #61 twice, drawing a flag. The video then cuts to the brawl. Off to the right is a short fight between NB #34 and LM #21.

    After the splice, there is a sea of NB blue jerseys in a scrum while the LM white jerseys are approaching but not (yet) participating. Ultimately, the fact more white jerseys enter the field than blue jerseys makes it seem like LM was the main culprit. I suppose one might argue LM had a longer run from their sideline or else they’d have gotten there first, but the fact is NB did get there first.

    It also may well be that LM players were biting and scratching throughout the game, who knows, but strictly from the video it appears the entire LM team was hyper sensitive to the NB late hits and presumably other perceived needless aggression. The LM player then over-reacted to what he thought was a piling on (which could have been a penalty) followed by the NB guy he pushed getting up and shoving that kid twice (a definite penalty), which precipitated the fight.

    Personally, I would have sent each team to a neutral corner and talked to them individually about a forfeit ruling if this continued. If there already was such a warning, I am unaware of it. As brawls go, this was as low on the scale as it gets and it appears everyone involved is over-reacting.

    – Jeff

  13. @jeff – North Branford is wearing white with the purple pants (they’re the away team). Lewis Mills is in the blue.

  14. Jeff says:

    Oops, my bad for assuming from (mis?)reading prior accounts that NB was “known” to be a dirty team and therefore just assuming there were in blue. As Emily Litella used to say: “That’s a horse of a different color. Never mind.” I now feel sympathy for North Branford getting jobbed out of two wins and a likely playoff spot. While you never like to see benches clear, “no tolerance” policies all too often are an excuse for having to employ common sense which for a ten second “brawl” is badly needed here.

  15. The Dude says:

    North Branford definitely does not have the greatest reputation for clean play around the state. But judging from what I saw there I can’t really fault them for this defending their own players.

  16. MasukRules says:

    Boys will be boys. I hope that they learn a lesson or two from this.

  17. tj says:

    Weak. It doesn’t even rate as high as a baseball brawl. Where’s Jose Offerman when you need him.

  18. Dr. Von Nostran says:

    Does anyone have any insight into the Manchester/Southington situation? Apparently a Manchester receiver lost his coded wrist band late in the first half. Manchester alleges that DJ Hernandez can be seen on film in the second half refering to the wristband on his clipboard and relaying the information to his defensive coaches/players. Manchester is saying he, “is unethical and cheated” and is apparently protesting to the CIAC and the CT High School Coaches Association.

  19. I’m seeing it now… post upcoming.

  20. einhorn is finkle says:

    wow… the pequot league is pretty hardcore.

  21. Jeff says:

    Apparently North Branford is fielding a team after all– of other kids at the school with any football experience. Hey, why not.

  22. millsplayer says:

    I play for Mills. We are not a dirty team. North Branford is not a dirty team. We just had differences. Enough said.

  23. kid in the fight says:

    Branford was playing dirty this game and u miss the late hit by Branford in the video which started the fight…