Texas dad alleges bullying in 91-0 football game

1018 hs FWWesternHills-Aledo
Bob Booth

In this Aug. 31, 2013 photo, Aledo High School football coach Tim Buchanan watches from the sideline during the second half of a game against Highland Park, in Allen, Texas. A parent at a Texas high school that lost a football game 91-0 has filed a bullying complaint against the winning coach. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Aledo High School coach Buchanan learned of the online complaint against him Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, the day after his team beat Western Hills in a 4A matchup. (AP Photo/The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Bob Booth) MAGS OUT; (FORT WORTH WEEKLY, 360 WEST)

Texas high school coach Tim Buchanan benched his starters after only 21 plays, kept to a conservative ground game and even allowed the clock to run uninterrupted after halftime to hasten the final whistle. Still, his Bearcats won 91-0.

Now the coach is facing formal accusations of bullying.

The impressive victory for undefeated Aledo High School, a football powerhouse in suburban Fort Worth that has put up similar numbers against other schools, has forced an investigation after a parent from the opposing team filed a bullying complaint. The complaint, which must be investigated under state law, says Buchanan should have done more to prevent the lopsided score.

"It wasn't good for anybody," Buchanan said of the Friday win over Western Hills in a Class 4A matchup. "I've sat and gone over and over and over it on what we could have done differently. The score could have very easily been 150 to nothing."

Western Hills coach John Naylor told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he disagreed with the bullying allegation, which Buchanan said suggested his coaches "should have made their players ease up and quit playing that hard." Naylor did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment Tuesday.

Under state law, Aledo's principal must investigate the complaint and prepare a report. The complaint was filed with the school district, which the law requires to provide bullying complaint forms on its websites.

The University Interscholastic League, the governing body for high school sports in Texas, only has a mercy rule for six-man football that ends a game when one team gets ahead by 45 points by halftime or later. There is no mercy rule for 11-man football, though coaches can agree to end a game early, UIL spokeswoman Kate Hector said.

Buchanan said Tuesday he wasn't aware of that option.

There were about 1,500 fans still in the stands at the end of the game, most of them Aledo's, he said. About 5,000 were at the Bearcats' stadium in Aledo at the beginning because it was a recognition night for band members' parents. A cold front that brought rain added another reason to leave when the game started to get out of hand, Buchanan said.

While blowouts are not uncommon in Texas high school football, Aledo has racked up several of them this season, due in part to being placed in a new district that has not been as strong in football. The Bearcats' average victory margin in four district games is 77 points.

The UIL bases its realignment decisions on enrollment and geographic location to minimize travel time, a move aimed at reducing class absences. When Aledo was placed in a different district before last season, its travel time to the furthest location was cut from two hours to about 35 miles, Buchanan said.

Buchanan's team, which is averaging 69.3 points a game with a 7-0 record, ran just 32 plays but scored on about every third one during Friday's game. Aledo rushed for 391 yards. It scored eight touchdowns on the ground, two each on passes and punt returns, and one on a fumble recovery.

"It certainly didn't seem like they were trying to run up the score in this case," Hector said.

Western Hills had 79 yards rushing and 67 yards passing.

The UIL follows NCAA rules, but most other states follow guidelines of the National Federation of State High School Associations, said Bob Colgate, the federation's director of sports and sports medicine.

Colgate said many of the federation's 48 member states and the District of Columbia have adopted a mercy rule in 11-man football. He noted that a survey published in February found that 16 states reported using a mercy rule with point margins, which are set by individual states, ranging from 30 points to 50 points.

Aledo Principal Dan Peterson said his report on the bullying complaint should be completed this week. It will be given to the father who filed the complaint and the staff at Western Hills.

Hector said anyone can submit a proposal for a rule change, which could then be considered by the UIL's legislative council.

Buchanan said his school, winner of four state titles since 1998, and district are very supportive of the football program. The same, he said, cannot be said of Western Hills.

"It's not so much money as it is lack of emphasis," he said. "If you're going to have a program, support it."

What do you think of this story?

Login to post comments

In order to make comments, you must create a subscription.

In order to comment on SunJournal.com, you must hold a valid subscription allowing access to this website. You must use your real name and include the town in which you live in your SunJournal.com profile. To subscribe or link your existing subscription click here.

Login or create an account here.

Our policy prohibits comments that are:

  • Defamatory, abusive, obscene, racist, or otherwise hateful
  • Excessively foul and/or vulgar
  • Inappropriately sexual
  • Baseless personal attacks or otherwise threatening
  • Contain illegal material, or material that infringes on the rights of others
  • Commercial postings attempting to sell a product/item
If you violate this policy, your comment will be removed and your account may be banned from posting comments.



 's picture

Mercy rules have no place in

Mercy rules have no place in football, soccer, or hockey. Better teams win by bigger margins, that's how life works. I can see a place in baseball or soccer for some type of mercy rule but not for the purpose of preventing more runs. Because there is no clock in those sports the reason for the rule would be so the game can end in a reasonable time.

Jeff Johnson's picture


There is no mention in this article or online of any players being injured in this game. I could understand the bullying accusation if they were carrying an injured player off the field with every down... But based on the father's accusation:

I should:

1. Work less efficiently, because I'm better than the competition.
2. Ride my bicycle slower, because I'm faster than average.
3. Read and Study less because I'm more intelligent than him.
4. Stoop and relax my posture because I'm above average height.
5. Break up with my girlfriend because she's well beyond average beauty.
7. Take a lesser job because my income is in the to 10% of Maine.

What exactly is he trying to teach his kid? Bitch and moan because you've been beaten by someone who is clearly better than you?

Andrew Jones's picture

I don't have a problem with

I don't have a problem with "mercy" rules in high school sports, but I do have a problem with it somehow being a bullying issue because one team is vastly superior to the others. It sounds like the coach intentionally hamstrung his own team by benching his starting lineup and running ground plays to not create such a lopsided score.

Eric  LeBlanc's picture

This is what happens when liberalism

This is what happens when liberalism is left unchecked. It's time to stand up to liberals and crush them by any means necessary.

Mark Elliott's picture

Another fine example of

Another fine example of unintended consequences legislation can have. Using the bullying law for this? A mercy rule? Please! Why not just have the kids all stay home and we'll mail them their green ribbons.......

Zero tolerance laws are getting out of hand. Tolerance can't be judged in black and white...it takes people.

 's picture

That's just...


Bob White's picture

Maybe you should tell your

Maybe you should tell your kid he needs to practice harder. All that father is doing is teaching him how to be a cry baby. Life is tuff better get use to it.


Stay informed — Get the news delivered for free in your inbox.

I'm interested in ...