Texas high school football player attacks referee after being ejected from game
EDINBURG, Texas (AP) — A Texas high school football player charged onto the field and bowled over a referee Thursday night, angered after being ejected from the game.
Senior defensive lineman Emmanuel Duron of Edinburg High School came running from the sideline area after the referee announced the ejection, slamming into the official during the first half of the zone play-in game against Pharr-San Juan-Alamo.
Duron was escorted from the stadium by police officers.
The Monitor of McAllen reported the referee was evaluated for a concussion by medical personnel at the stadium.
The game resumed after a delay, with Edinburg winning 35-21 to advance to the playoffs.
The District 31-6A Defensive Player of the Year last season, Duron also is the Bobcats’ kicker and punter and a star wrestler.
The situation happened in the second quarter of a play-in game to the Texas state playoffs. Duron was flagged for roughing the passer and then was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and was ejected from the game. Duron was escorted from the field by his coach. Then after pacing on the sidelines for a bit, Duron rushed the field and bodychecked referee Fred Garcia to the ground.
Andrew McCulloch of the Monitor reported that Garcia, 58, was able to get up under his own power after lying on the turf for a while.
He left the field on a cart and taken to an ambulance outside the stadium, where he was evaluated for a potential shoulder injury and concussion-like symptoms. The 27-year veteran of the Texas Association of Sports Officials did not return to the game.
The Monitor also reported that Duran was suspended for the remainder of the 2019-20 soccer season after a similar incident during a match against rival Edinburg Vela.
Schools officials did not comment about the incident afterwards.
“I can’t release any information on that and I apologize for that,” Edinburg High head football coach JJ Lejia said. “I hope you understand. I want this (game) to be about our program and all the other kids we had on the field tonight.”
On Friday, Duron, 18, was charged with a class A assault stemming from Thursday’s incident. Duron was charged during an arraignment hearing Friday morning.
Also Friday, Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District decided to remove Edinburg from the playoffs. The decision means the district’s two remaining playoff berths will go to Edinburg North and PSJA North. Those two teams were slated to play Friday for the district’s remaining district berth.
“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. 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 Edinburg district said in a written statement.