Giants end season winless, followed by controversy

The Rochester Giants semipro football team finished with a touchdown to avoid a shutout in its game Saturday against the Minnesota Spartans.

It was a glimmer of hope to end a winless season drowned in disappointment and compromised by controversy.

Turnovers and a lack of reliable players have hurt the team, said head coach Dexter General.

But more damaging have been allegations of dirty play and suspensions of two players, which cropped up in other NEFL league games not involving the Giants as well.

The two Giants players were suspended for the remainder of the season following an abrupt ending to a 28-7 defeat in Duluth on June 30 that was called by officials with 1:18 to play in the third quarter.


The referees cited concern for the safety of themselves and the opposing Lake Superior Rage players during the entirety of the game to prompt the early ending.

Head referee told the Duluth News Tribune that continual cheap play and abusive language from the Giants forced him to end the game.

"All that happened was, I said one thing about calling it both ways, he said 'I am,' I said 'no you’re not,' he waved the flag and said game over. It was crazy." recalled General.

The Lake Superior team didn't want to quit either, he said. "It was a physical game, but it was a fun game."

Head official Pete Larkin claims that he warned General two times to control his and his players behavior. General claims he received no such warning.

Larkin claims that he warned General two times to control his and his players behavior. General claims he received no such warning.

"Sometimes you just feel like you’re not getting the right call." explained General. "And I’m the type that — just explain to me — if you missed it, you missed it, if you didn’t see it, you didn’t see it, and if this guy's supposed to be watching, explain it to me and I’m good. But don’t just start yelling and saying shut up and stuff like that."

In general, the coach says he has a high regard for all the officials in the league, and according to other officials of the NEFL it would be very uncharacteristic if all allegations were true.


"Some of us are out here because we love the game." General continued, "The guys who love the game, we respect the officials. I would never blatantly curse them out or swear at them, I respect the game too much and they are a part of the game."

The ensuing suspensions dealt by the NEFL were for off-the-field actions by Giants players following the confusion.

"Players were banging and yelling on our door at Public Schools Stadium," Larkin said. "It was just like walking into a firing squad."

In addition to pounding and threatening remarks, rude comments were made to Rage staff members, according to league president, Nicole Isaac. The two players suspended, running back Kyle Perteer and linebacker Anthony Nyguen, were picked out because they were the only ones wearing their jerseys during the incident.

Larkin also claimed that the Giants have been a "problem child" all year, and that the Lake Superior coaches players were innocent bystanders. Both notions have since been called into question.

"Those comments are incorrect — he made that comment completely out of context" said Isaac of the Giants supposedly being problem children. "The Giants have not seen a suspension all year prior to that game, to my knowledge."

Isaac went on to mention that the official who called the Giants' next game, a 19-7 loss against the Chippewa Valley Predators, had glowing remarks about the teams in that game.

"He had the highest regards for the teams and said that the game was played clean. He said everyone was outstanding." she said.


For their part, the Rage followed up the fracas by earning three suspensions of their own in Eau Claire. The league issued two lifetime and one season-long suspension to Rage players following a bench-clearing brawl that included the Eau Claire Crush coach getting punched in the face and Rage player striking an opponent with his helmet, according to the NEFL.

"Makes us look good," quipped General.

The suspensions from the league were a reaction to season that has seen plenty of bumps along the way, according to Isaac.

"The actions the league took in response to this incident are unprecedented," Isaac said in a news release, "(but) we needed to make a decision that upheld our league's core belief that the NEFL provides fun, family-friendly entertainment. I believe the league made huge strides with the decisions handed down, as we understand that the embarrassment caused by this and several other incidents this season needed to stop to ensure the future viability of the league."

As for the future viability of the Giants, coach General is optimistic, despite a disappointing season.

"The biggest thing is, if we can get an offensive line and a quarterback for this team, we’ll win." General said.

General noted that the Giants used to be a dominant team, winning five straight championships; now some other teams have taken some of the players. The losing has been humbling.

"If you’re constantly winning all the time and all of a sudden you start losing you don’t know how to handle it. and when you’re losing and you start winning, you handle it better," he said. "Next year, hopefully guys come with a different mentality, a different attitude — we'll win."



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