HS football player ejected after thanking God

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A "thank you" to God after a touchdown ends with HS player ejected and out of the playoffs (KTRK)

An Arizona high school football player was ejected from a game for what he says was pointing to the sky and "thanking God."

KPHO-TV reports Pedro Banda, wearing number 15 for Dysart High School, scored a touchdown and did what he says he always does, which is point to the sky to thank God.

But this time, it earned him a flag for excessive celebration and an ejection. He also won't be eligible for playoff games for Dysart High School in El Mirage.

Banda says he has been celebrating touchdowns this way since he was eight years old.

"I scored and I was running to my brother who was also on the field, and I put my hand to my face mask and pointed up to the sky, " said Banda.

After the touchdown, he says he was ejected from the game and was told he's not allowed to play in the playoffs.

Banda said, "Now I don't get to play my senior year in our playoffs where our school hasn't had a winning record or been in the playoffs in more than 25 years."

Banda's mother said she never thought his celebration would jeopardize his football career. "They always do it to thank God for everything they have been through. If it is a rule, I would have liked to have been informed of it," said Angelo Franco.

Banda's family plans on appealing the decision. No word yet from the Arizona Interscholastic Association.
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