Dysart football player's ejection overturned; can play in playoff game

- A referee's ejection of a Dysart High School football player during a game has been overturned by the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

In a press release, the Arizona Interscholastic Association says after reviewing video of the referee's call and meeting with the school, and the student and his family, the ejection has been overruled.

During a football game against Glendale High School on Oct. 30, senior Pedro Banda says he was ejected from the game after he pointed to the sky and thanked God after scoring a touchdown.

Banda was flagged by a referee for excessive celebration and ejected from the game. As a result of the ejection, Banda was suspended for the school's upcoming playoff game.

"I am glad that my intentions were heard today," Banda said. "My family and I appreciate the support of Dysart High School, the team, my family, and friends. I am also appreciative of the AIA hearing my appeal and overturning the earlier decision. My focus is on joining the team for our first playoff appearance in 21 years."

The AIA released the following statement regarding their decision to overrule the referee's call on the field:

“Within the context of the game, we understand the mindset of the officials. It was a cumulative effect and the student-players gesture precipitated an additional flag for what they perceived as taunting, not as a faith gesture,” said Gary Whelchel, State Commissioner of Officials."

"However, after reviewing the entire game video and meeting with the student-player, the Appeal Committee has decided to give the student the benefit of the doubt and overturn the call. The Committee stated that they did not find that specific action met the “excessive” or “prolonged” rule. This decision, negates the ejection and will allow the Dysart player eligibility to participate in upcoming games and tournaments."

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