Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

February 23, 2013

Navarro hoops: Bulldogs dazed and confused after pepper-spraying

Navarro coaches, players get maced in locker room

By Todd Wills
Corsicana Daily Sun

Kilgore — Navarro lost a basketball game on Saturday night, then got pepper-sprayed by Kilgore campus police in a post-game incident that left Bulldog coaches upset and confused.

"We got maced in our own locker room," Navarro head coach Johnny Estelle said.

Navarro assistant coaches Eric Colbert and Brian Crawford and players David Woodard, Jamar Goodwin and Jaleel Cousins took the brunt of the pepper spray, getting hit for several seconds in the face.

Two Kilgore campus policeman sprayed the Navarro coaches and players at the entry way of their locker room. The pepper spray still lingered -- strongly -- in the Bulldogs' locker room and Masters Gymnasium after the game.

Players were scrambling around for water and wet towels to ease the burning in their eyes. Others were dealing with breathing issues, especially players who suffer from asthma, Estelle said.

Kilgore was celebrating a hard-fought 88-78 victory over Navarro that kept the Rangers alive in the Region XIV conference race with a week to go in the season.

"They played a good game," Estelle said. "It really tarnishes the win."

Kilgore players and students celebrated the victory at center court and lingered for several minutes after the game. Navarro came out of the locker room and into the entry way out to the floor because they heard a whistle being blown.

"We had a lot of family and friends at the game," Estelle said. "We were worried about our fans. My wife and baby were out there. Our kids were in the locker room. They came out to see what was going on when they heard the whistle."

Colbert said he was getting his players back in the locker room when one of the Kilgore campus police started spraying in the locker room. They sprayed three times in all, Crawford said.

"The policeman said, 'this isn't going to be like football,'" Colbert said. "I said, 'I don't know anything about football.'"

In a football playoff game last fall, Navarro scored two late touchdowns on Kilgore in a victory that left Kilgore coaches and players upset. Several Kilgore football players were in the crowd and added to what was a good enviroment for a intense basketball game.

But what happened in the post-game made little sense to Navarro.

"Why would he do that"? Estelle said of the campus policeman. "I can't believe it happened."