Coach speaks out after soccer scuffle

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The New Mexico Activities Association is investigating a fight between two Albuquerque high school soccer players. One student is accused of punching then kicking another student during a heated match. A local sports photographer was there to capture the whole thing.

“Well, I heard there was a fight that broke out during the soccer game and I heard it was a pretty brutal fight,” La Cueva junior Andy Bui said.

La Cueva High is buzzing after a Highland Hornet punched and kicked one of their own out on the field.

“I’ve never seen it to this magnitude,” La Cueva boys soccer head coach Kevin Driggs said.

Driggs, who leads the Bears boys, says it happened at the Albuquerque Metro Championships at the APS Soccer Complex over the weekend.

“A Highland player was going in making a good tackle, good challenge on our player Chris,” Driggs explained.

“Chris went down. On his way down, he kind of reached for the neck, chin area of the player. I don’t know if it was to break his fall.”

He says freshman Chris Manning was punched by another freshman, Alex Jimenez, roughly 60 minutes into the game. Then, a few seconds later once Manning was on his feet, he took a kick to the back. Jimenez was thrown out of the game.

“I didn’t see anything different from either side that would provoke it,” Driggs said.

The game would then end, La Cueva up 4-1.

The New Mexico Activities Association says it’s now investigating. When asked about specifics such as possible discipline, KRQE News 13 was told it was too early.

“X-rays were negative,” Driggs said. “He was told with the tailbone injury it’s very hard to tell if there’s a hairline fracture or not.”

Driggs says Manning feels better and met with a trainer Wednesday.

A photographer for “ABQ Sports Magazine” captured the whole thing.

In an article published on the magazine’s website, just before that fight, the Highland head coach was ejected after questioning a call.

“Highland handled themselves with class,” Driggs said. “I know they’re getting a bad rep right now but like I said, a majority of the kids were very receptive and apologetic.”

The New Mexico Activities Association couldn’t give KRQE News 13 any information on any kind of possible suspensions. KRQE News 13 reached out to Highland High and the APS Activities Director for comment but did not hear back.

The soccer tournament runs through Friday. Both Highland and La Cueva play Wednesday, but they’re not playing each other.

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