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Sugar Skulls release Antonio Rosales for punching official in Saturday's loss
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Indoor Football League

Sugar Skulls release Antonio Rosales for punching official in Saturday's loss

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Former Tucson Sugar Skulls offensive lineman Antonio Rosales was one of two locals on this year’s roster, along with defensive back Cam Gaddis. Rosales played at Tucson High and San Diego State.

The Sugar Skulls have released offensive lineman Antonio Rosales for punching a game official in the team’s loss to the Iowa Barnstormers on Saturday night.

Rosales received two ejection penalties in the 33-13 loss at Tucson Arena, with the second coming after he punched the official above his left eye.

Coach and general manager Dixie Wooten decided to cut the former Tucson High and San Diego State standout shortly after. Rosales has been a part of the club since the Sugar Skulls’ debut season in 2019.

“People make mistakes. Sometimes, you have to pay for it,” Wooten said Thursday night. “Unfortunately, it cost him his career with the Tucson Sugar Skulls. One thing about him is that he’s a great young man and I wish him the best. I want him to fight through it and whatever he does in life, he’s going to be great at it. He’s a great young man and I don’t want anyone to forget that part.”

Added Wooten: “When one of your players you count on gets into a situation like that, it’s very tough. I’m a disciplinarian when it comes to football, and for that to happen under my watch, it was something I couldn’t sleep about. I remember the whole game, but anytime I thought about a play, that play sticks out more than anything. I have to go back to the drawing board and make sure that never happens again.”

Sugar Skulls co-owner Cathy Guy said Thursday that she “fully” supports Wooten’s decision.

“We were in the middle of a very competitive and intense game and unfortunately, Antonio lost control of his emotions,” she said. “We appreciate Antonio’s contributions to our team and wish him nothing but the best with his future endeavors, but we are committed to professionalism and putting a fan friendly product on the field.”

The incident involving Rosales occurred with just over three minutes remaining in Saturday’s loss. Iowa intercepted a Demry Croft pass as the Skulls were driving to score. After the play concluded, Rosales clipped Iowa defensive lineman Tony Jones near the scrum and slammed his shoulder into the Barnstormer on the ground. Other players and game officials separated Rosales from the scrum, eventually pinning him to a nearly padded wall. There, he punched the official.

Tucson (1-2) takes on the rival Arizona Rattlers Saturday night in Phoenix.

Contact sports producer Justin Spears at 573-4312 or jspears@tucson.com. On Twitter: @JustinESports


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Sports producer

Justin writes stories and produces digital content about UA football and basketball and high school football. A Tucson native, Justin graduated from the UA in 2017 and is the host of the Wildcast Podcast and a radio host on ESPN Tucson.

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