Texas high school football player jailed after bowling over referee

A Texas high school football player is facing an assault charge after he ran onto the field during a playoff game on Thursday night and knocked over a referee, authorities said.

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Emmanuel Duron, 18, of Edinburg, was charged with assault, a Class A misdemeanor offense, The Monitor of McAllen reported. He posted $10,000 bail on Friday, the newspaper reported.

Duron, a senior defensive lineman for the Edinburg High School team, was ejected for roughing the passer against a Pharr-San Juan-Alamo player late in the first half of Thursday’s game, The Dallas Morning News reported. Duron was also assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for talking back to the officials, KVEO reported.

After he was escorted to the sidelines, Duron sprinted toward the official, 59-year-old Fred Garcia, after hearing the call, The Monitor reported.

In a video that has been shared on social media, Duron is shown slamming into Garcia and knocking the referee to the ground, KVEO reported.

Duron was escorted from Richard R. Flores Stadium by Edinburg police officers. Garcia, who has been an official for 27 years, left the game and was evaluated for a concussion and a shoulder injury, according to The Monitor.

Although Edinburg won the game 35-21, district officials on Friday removed the team from the playoffs, KSAT reported.

“We extend a sincere apology to the referee and his family,” the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District said in a statement. “On behalf of the Edinburg CISD Board of Trustees and administration, we apologize to the athletes, staff, and our school community.”

Duron was also suspended for the remainder of the 2019-20 soccer season after a similar incident occurred on the pitch during a match last year, according to The Monitor.

Duron was named The Monitor’s All-Area Boys Wrestler of the Year in early 2020, the Morning News reported. He finished with a 44-8 record, going 4-2 at the state tournament, according to the site.

Edinburg head coach JJ Lejia told The Monitor that he “can’t release any information on that. And I apologize for that. I hope you understand.”

The Texas Association of Sports Officials said in a statement that it has begun an investigation and has begun collaborating with the University Interscholastic League.

“Unfortunately, this type of blind-sided assault on an official while working on the field is not new to Texas football,” the TASO statement said.

In 2015, two John Jay High School football players hit a referee in the middle of a play, KSAT reported. The San Antonio students pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault, along with former John Jay coach Mark Breed, who was accused of telling the players to attack the referee, the television station reported.

In 2008, Euless Trinity’s Eric Fieilo blindsided and assaulted an official during a playoff game against Allen, the Morning News reported.