Edinburg High School player facing assault charge for knocking over ref; team removed from Texas football playoffs

High school football player shoves official after ejection (0:22)

A high school football player goes after a referee and bowls him over following his ejection from the game. (0:22)

A Texas high school football team has been removed from the playoffs as one of its players faces an assault charge for running onto the field and knocking down a referee.

On Thursday, Edinburg High School senior defensive lineman Emmanuel Duron slammed into referee Fred Gracia after Gracia announced Duron had been ejected from the game.

According to The Monitor of McAllen, Duron was ejected after he received back-to-back unsportsmanlike conduct penalties when he shoved an opposing offensive lineman to the ground, attempted to tackle the quarterback after the whistle had blown the play dead and exchanged words with the 58-year-old Gracia.

On Friday, Duron, who was escorted from the stadium by police officers, was charged with Class A assault. He posted his $10,000 bond and was released from county jail Friday evening, according to jail records.

The incident occurred in the first half of Edinburg's 35-21 playoff victory. Despite the win, the team's season is 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 Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District announced Friday. "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.

"We 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 University Interscholastic League condemned Duron's actions, but approved of Edinburg's quick response.

"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 UIL said in a statement.

The Texas Association of Sports Officials announced Friday it has begun its own investigation, calling Duron's hit on Gracia "another vicious and deliberate assault ... on a TASO Football Official by a player who had just been ejected from the contest."

The District 31-6A Defensive Player of the Year last season, Duron also is the Bobcats' kicker and punter and a star wrestler.