Sam Turner (Sam Turner)
Sam Turner had been waiting all season for this moment.
The 16-year-old tight-end and wing for the Fort Myers High School Green Wave ran his route Friday night just as he had done countless times during practice.
The quarterback saw a window and took action. His pass was right on the money, and Sam caught the ball and avoided a tackle. A teammate made a crucial block allowing Sam to score his first touchdown of the season.
Sam raised his hands in the air to honor a murdered teammate and then took a knee to thank God. The end zone celebration lasted about five seconds.
“I felt like I had to thank God for blessing me with the talent and passion to play football,” Sam told me. “So I dropped to a knee and thanked God for everything He’s done in my life.”
But when Sam opened his eyes he saw a referee throwing a flag.
Unsportsmanlike conduct. A 15-yard penalty.
The Florida High School Athletic Association and the South Gulf Football Officials Association said Sam was not penalized for praying. Instead, they say he was guilty of violating Rule 9-5, Article 1 of the 2014 National Federation of State High School Associations football rulebook.
Written by Todd Starnes
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