I had a hs boys game the other day. Varsity, for whatever that means around here. Team A is getting hammered at home, last game of the season. They have a couple of skill players who have no sense of team involvement, so all they do is dribble, lose the ball, and get frustrated. A #11 is heating up. I can see the mist forming. He is swearing at his teammates for being "lame as f*ck." His challenges are sloppier and he's grabbing more, but still not over the level of physicality that I've allowed so far. Six minutes to go he is legally dispossessed by B #25 with a shoulder charge and he snaps. He shoves B25 from behind, who stops, turns around and pushes back. A11 then throws B25 to the ground. I'm already heading in after the first shove but both players' teammates are in faster and separate the two. Since it is a crowd, I stop at a little distance and watch. As the players are moving apart, B25 turns back and charges A11 again, and is prevented from reaching him by being literally tackled by his teammate at the last second. Until the last bit I had red for A11 and yellow for B25, but given he went back for more after the situation was defused, I sent him off too. My issues: 1: I wonder if calling a smaller foul or two on A11 could have given me a chance to talk him down. Doing so would not have been consistent with how I had called the match, so may have just inflamed him more. 2: I feel like getting in and sending off A11 immediately would have kept B25 from charging back in, but there were so many players about (and in front of B bench) that I didn't want to miss anything until it was clear the situation was cool. So in sum, I feel like I could have prevented two reds, and didn't. I know every mass confrontation is different, but in this case it wasn't really mass confrontation, just two with several people separating them. Any thoughts from those wise on this board, to whom I am already indebted?