DES MOINES, Iowa — A major hit on the football field has already cost a Des Moines high school coach his job and might even evolve into criminal charges.
It happened during the second quarter of a football game between Dowling Catholic High School and Lincoln High School at Valley Stadium last Friday.
A hit on a Lincoln’s quarterback caused Jason Storm, a 15-year assistant coach and father of the player, to erupt when a referee did not throw a flag for targeting. Storm confronted the referee and now West Des Moines police are involved.
“My first reaction was ‘How do you not call that a penalty?’” said Gary Dickey, who is Storm’s attorney.
Channel 13 sat down with Dickey, who says he believes the video shows an unsafe, helmet-to-helmet hit that should have warranted a flag. But no flag was thrown.
“That`s a sensitive issue for Mr. Storm. His son had a concussion last year and had to miss a significant portion of the season, so when you have these types of calls involving player safety, that`s when emotions get high,” said Dickey.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) is reviewing the video and plans to speak with those involved. Regardless of whether the hit was legal or illegal, the association says the issue is about what happened after the whistle blew.
“I’m saying if I’m an official, that’s my goal. I strive to be perfect, just as a player I strive to be perfect and as a coach I strive to be perfect. The reality is that officials are not perfect, no matter what level we are talking about. Inevitably, an official is going to miss a call and it’s our responsibility as adults to disagree respectfully and keep our cool and keep our emotions in check,” said IHSAA Executive Director Tom Keating.
Storm was ejected and the game was delayed. West Des Moines police are looking into the incident but won’t comment due to the ongoing investigation. Following the game, Storm voluntarily resigned as a coach and has since apologized to the Dowling athletics director.
“Mr. Storm acknowledges that his reaction was not appropriate. The referee made a mistake, just as he made a mistake, and what`s important is that if you make a mistake that you accept responsibility and do your best not to do that again, and that`s what Mr. Storm is trying to do in this situation,” said Dickey.
Des Moines Public Schools sent Channel 13 a statement recognizing Storm taking responsibility for his actions and went on to say:
“However, the video clearly shows a dangerous incident occurring during the game right in front of the referee, who did not call a penalty. The district is now waiting to see what responsibility this referee is going to take for their mistake and if there will be any action by the Iowa High School Athletic Association in response to a dangerous missed call.”
Keating said if a coach is out of line, he thinks the official deserves an apology and the door swings both ways. The association has not yet publicly announced if they believe the call was the right one.