American football player Ronnie Hastie got down on one knee and thanked God as way of celebration for scoring in a game on Monday, but was penalised by the referee for his actions

Tumwater beat East Valley 63-27 on Monday night at the Tacoma Dome during the 2A state semifinal game, but a post-touchdown penalty call was a big surprise for the player responsible.

In the second quarter of the game, Tumwater running back Ronnie Hastie scored on a 23-yard run, took a knee in the end zone and briefly pointed to the heavens above.

For that the referee threw a flag, saying it was unsportsmanlike conduct.

Hastie said he’s pointed up as a gesture to God after every touchdown he’s scored in every game and never had a problem before.

“It’s usually one or two seconds long,” he said. “It’s something I’ve done as a tradition.”

Luckily, the penalty didn’t affect the outcome of the game, with Tumwater easily defeating East Valley 63-27 in the state 2A semifinal game.

But the high school player has decided he will alter his celebration in future to escape the wrath of the officials.

‘I’ll change it for the team cause they are the most important; we don’t want the penalty,’ he said.

The WIAA executive director Mike Colbrese says he won’t judge the call. But he says the association is reviewing and discussing it with the state officials’ organisation.

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