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Star HS football player runs on field, flattens referee who ejected him from game; player charged with assault


The player's team was removed from playoffs by its own school district over the incident

Image source: YouTube screenshot, composite

UPDATE 10:20 p.m.: The Edinburg (Texas) High School football player who ran on the field and knocked down the referee who ejected him from a crucial game Thursday night was charged with assault, the Monitor reported.

Emmanuel Duron, 18, was charged with Class A assault around 11 a.m. Friday morning during an arraignment at the Edinburg Municipal Court, the paper said.

A cash surety bond of $10,000 was set for the football player, the Monitor said, adding that jail records show he posted bond and was released later in the evening, the Monitor noted.

The Texas University Interscholastic League issued the following statement:

The UIL strongly condemns the unsportsmanlike behavior displayed in the Edinburg vs. PSJA high school football game on December 3, 2020. Physical contact with a sports official is never appropriate. Our thoughts and well wishes are with the official involved. We applaud the Edinburg CISD administration for addressing this situation swiftly and taking appropriate action in removing themselves from the playoffs and for dealing with the student involved in the incident.

The conduct witnessed in the Edinburg, PSJA game in no way represents the values taught through interscholastic activities including high school football," said Dr. Charles Breithaupt, executive director of the UIL. "Respect, responsibility, fairness and concern for others are vital components of educational competition. Strong and appropriate measures are being taken by the school district and we hope that healing can come from this teachable moment."

UPDATE 1:28 p.m.: Edinburg High School's football team was removed from the Texas state playoffs Friday by its school district after a star Edinburg player ran on the field and knocked down the referee who ejected him from Thursday night's game, the Monitor said.

Edinburg beat PJSA High 35-21 to advance to the Class 6A Division I playoffs — but the squad's season is apparently over.

"The district has decided to remove the Edinburg High School football team from the playoffs after an unexpected incident involving a student that occurred during a football game on December 3, 2020," the district said in a written statement, according to the paper. "We extend a sincere apology to the referee and his family. On behalf of the Edinburg CISD Board of Trustees and administration, we apologize to the athletes, staff, and our school community."

The district added that it "will take the appropriate disciplinary action once we understand the facts and circumstances underlining this incident. The district takes these matters very seriously; however, we cannot comment further on a pending investigation," the Monitor noted.

PSJA High will move on instead, according to the Monitor's Andrew McCullough, who also said the Texas Association of Sports Officials & the Texas University Interscholastic League announced they will conduct a joint investigation into Thursday night's incident.

Original story below

A star Texas high school football player — after being ejected from a crucial game Thursday night — ran on the field and slammed his body into the referee who threw him out, after which police escorted the player from the stadium.

What are the details?

Edinburg High School senior defensive end Emmanuel Duron — the team's star defender — was flagged on a play early in the second quarter after he shoved an offensive lineman to the ground and attempted to tackle the quarterback after the whistle had blown the play dead, the Monitor reported.

More from the paper:

Duron and referee Fred Gracia exchanged words after the play was over, and Gracia ejected Duron from the contest after back-to-back unsportsmanlike penalties on the same play.

Duron, who was leading the Bobcats in tackles (102) and sacks (eight) through four games, then charged onto the field as teammates raced after him in an attempt to hold him back. The senior defensive end collided with Gracia, checking him chest-to-chest at full speed and sending him to the turf.

Police escort Edinburg High football player from game for hitting refereeyoutu.be

The Monitor reported that four police officers who were working security for the game escorted Duron from Edinburg's Richard R. Flores Stadium, and he didn't return. The paper said Duron was not handcuffed.

An Edinburgh school district official told TheBlaze Friday morning that the officers who escorted Duron from the stadium work for the district and that a statement on the incident was being prepared.

Edinburg High School head football coach JJ Lejia told the Monitor when approached for comment, "I can't release any information on that, and I apologize for that. I hope you understand. I want this [moment] to be about our program and all the other kids we had on the field tonight."

Edinburg High administrators declined to comment on the incident, the paper added.

What happened to the referee?

Gracia — the official who was hit — was able to get up under his own power and was helped off the field after a cart was driven onto the turf so medical personnel could assess the situation, the paper's Andrew McCulloch noted.

Gracia was taken to an ambulance outside the stadium gates and medically evaluated for a potential shoulder injury and concussion-like symptoms, the Monitor reported. Gracia also did not return to the game, the paper said, and officials continued shorthanded for the remainder of the game.

Gracia, a 58-year-old McAllen resident, has been with the Texas Association of Sports Officials for 27 years, the Monitor said.

Anything else?

Edinburg won the game 35-21 and advanced to the Class 6A Division I playoffs, the paper said.

Duron — the player who delivered the hit to the referee — was suspended for the remainder of the 2019-20 soccer season after a similar incident during a game last year against crosstown rival Edinburg Vela, the Monitor reported.

McCulloch added in a tweet that he saw a "low-resolution video" of the soccer incident, which was "more of a two-handed shove against an official, who then ejected [Duron] from that contest."

Duron also was the Monitor's All-Area Boys Wrestler of the Year last season, the paper added.

McCulloch also offered the following update regarding Thursday night's incident:

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