Central Valley High School self-reported a Sac-Joaquin Section rules violation to Commissioner Pete Saco following its varsity football team's 46-14 win at Madera South on Sept. 20.
Athletic Director Greg Magni decided to punish a dozen Hawk players after reviewing game film from the non-conference clash.
"I was there," Magni said. "As soon as it happened, I knew I'd take the proper steps because a rule was broken. I told him (Saco) what happened and was honest. I don't get pleasure punishing the kids. But my job is to uphold the section constitution. I'm not going to be someone who cheats the system. This was done to be a teaching moment."
All 12 players were handed one-game suspensions for leaving the sideline and stepping onto the field when an altercation broke out following a fake PAT by Central Valley late in the fourth quarter. The two players involved in the fracas were immediately ejected.
Hawk head coach Jason McCloskey said the punishment was warranted.
"We did the right thing," he said. "I'm not going to skirt the rules for anybody. Not even for my own team. I teach integrity to our kids."
A total of 13 Central Valley players, including the senior kicked out of the game, were not allowed to participate or attend last Friday's homecoming contest with Pacheco.
Playing without five defensive starters, the Hawks challenged the Panthers early before suffering a 29-7 loss.
Pacheco running back Frank Ginda set two school records against depleted Central Valley.
The 6-foot-2, 227-pound junior rumbled for 290 yards on 31 carries.
He scored two touchdowns.
"We played shorthanded," McCloskey said. "It hurt not having them today. Pacheco wore us out physically. We had guys going both ways. We were gassed."
The Hawks dropped to 3-2 on the year and 0-1 in the Western Athletic Conference.
The Panthers improved to 4-1 and 1-0.
Pacheco defeated Central Valley 30-20 last year in Los Banos.
The Panthers edged out the Hawks for the Sac-Joaquin Section's final Division-III playoff berth. Pacheco advanced to the postseason for the first time in just its second year of existence.
Central Valley, which started competing at the varsity level in 2006, has yet to accomplish that feat.
"We were pretty confident coming into this game," said Hawks star running back Ja'Quan Gardner, who was limited to 75 yards on 15 carries. "We were focused. I give Pacheco a lot of credit. They executed, and played hard and fast. We'll play better next week."