- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 22, 2015

The father of a New York high school quarterback said his son was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after he briefly raised his finger in the air as thanks to God following a 73-yard touchdown.

Dante Turo’s dad, Geno, told Fox News’s Todd Starnes that he raised his son to honor God after making big plays on the football field.

“He wanted to do something at that moment to take credit away from himself and give glory to God,” Geno said. “God gives us the ability and the talent. As Christians, we want to be sure to give that back immediately.”

So when Dante, a 17-year-old student at Mexico High School, ran 73 yards for a touchdown on Saturday, he briefly raised a single finger in the sky to give thanks, Fox News reported. A referee immediately tossed a flag, and the teen was penalized 15 yards for excessive celebration.

“I tried to explain to the referee that threw the flag and the head referee, but they just said, it’s taunting,” head coach Tee Murabito told Fox News. “I told them he was praising God. How is that taunting?”

Dante’s team wound up losing the game, 33-31.

“Was that a play that cost us the game? No. But it did have an influence. That call had more impact than you see in the box score,” Mr. Murabito told Syracuse.com.

The Mohawk Valley Chapter of Certified Football Officials declined to comment on the matter, telling Syracuse.com via email: “It has been a longstanding policy that the Mohawk Valley Chapter of Certified Football Officials does not address the media pertaining to penalty calls or any other actions made during a football game.”

Dante will be back on the football field Friday night and said he won’t hesitate to praise God again in the same manner, Fox News reported.

“Without a doubt, I will raise my finger,” the teen said.

“He’s brave,” Mr. Turo said of his son. “I brought him up to be fearless in the face of opposition.”

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