You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

High school football player suspended for 'praising God'


A high school football player in Arizona could miss the school's first playoff game in 25 years after an official deemed a gesture to in praise of God as "excessive celebration."

Pedro Banda, 17, was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and ejected from a game last week after he pointed his index finger to the sky following a touchdown.

>> Read more trending stories

The senior running back at Dysart High School in El Mirage, northwest of Phoenix, says he was praising God. The official and opposing coach believe he may have been taunting opponents.

Glendale coach Brian Bowman told the Arizona Republic the game was “chippy between players throughout” and felt that Banda was part of it.

“I know he got one (unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the first quarter) when he got into it with one of our kids,” Bowman said. “They had given him a warning a couple of plays before his touchdown gave them a 28-0 lead with 4 minutes left. They gave him a warning and ejected one of our guys. It felt like taunting because it happened right after that.”

The unsportsmanlike penalty, coupled with the ejection for excessive celebration means Banda must serve a one game suspension. An appeal is being reviewed by the Arizona Interscholastic Association. The association's bylaw, however, states ejections are not subject to appeal.

Banda told Arizona TV station KNXV he will continue to do the gesture after scoring touchdowns.

“I just thank God for all the power he’s given me to play the game," Banda said. "And I just give the glory to Him.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in High School Sports

Top-seeded Kerber stunned in first round of French Open 
Top-seeded Kerber stunned in first round of French Open 

Angelique Kerber became the first top-seeded women’s player in the Open era of tennis to lose in the first round of the French Open, falling 6-2, 6-2 to Ekaterina Makarova on Sunday.  >> Read more trending news Makarova was successful against Kerber’s serve and took advantage of the No. 1 seed’s numerous mistakes to earn...
Ex-jocks bring athleticism, diversity to NASCAR pit crews
Ex-jocks bring athleticism, diversity to NASCAR pit crews

Mike Metcalf grew up in Charlotte, played basketball and football at Charlotte Christian, and attended occasional Charlotte Hornets and Carolina Panthers games. Charlotte Motor Speedway was about 30 minutes from his parents' home in south Charlotte, but might as well have been in another world. Metcalf was never a fan of racing ... until he made it...
Six-game Express winning streak snapped by Omaha

Garin Cecchini had three hits and scored two runs, and Luke Farrell allowed just three hits over seven innings as the Omaha Storm Chasers beat the Round Rock Express 10-0 on Saturday in Papillion, Neb. Farrell (5-2) picked up the win after he struck out eight and walked one. In the bottom of the first, Omaha grabbed the lead on a sacrifice fly by Raul...
Texas finally beats TCU to secure a spot in Big 12’s championship game
Texas finally beats TCU to secure a spot in Big 12’s championship game

OKLAHOMA CITY – For the record, Texas is 1-4 against TCU this season. The Longhorns, though, earned the win that matters the most. Michael Cantu homered and Blair Henley gave Texas six strong innings on the mound as the Longhorns beat TCU 9-3 in an elimination game at the Big 12 tournament on Saturday. Texas had lost its first four games against...
Strength in numbers boosts UT sprint relay team to nationals
Strength in numbers boosts UT sprint relay team to nationals

O’Brien Wasome didn’t have one of his better days on Saturday. But that didn’t prevent his fellow Longhorn sprinters from having one of theirs. Wasome, who recently had been handling the leadoff leg on Texas’ 400-meter relay in addition to his long jump and triple jump duties, didn’t come out of the blocks at the NCAA...
More Stories