There's a battle off the field in Mesquite over a young football player who has been told he's too big and cannot play.
At 12 years old Elijah Earnheart stands over 6 feet tall and weights almost 300 pounds.
For the past three weeks he's been practicing with the Mesquite Vikings, a Mesquite Pee Wee Football Association team. But on Sunday at a pre-season weigh-in he was told he's too big and can't suit up.
The president of the league said the rule is any seventh grader over 135 pounds is barred and must play in the school league.
Elijah's size hasn't prevented him from playing football until now. And he and his mother said he's not ready to go up against kids with years of playing behind them.
"I don't want to play in school right now because it's people that's had experience and I want to get some experience first and then start playing," he said. "I just want to play because my teammates are my friends. I know them. I don't want to go play for somebody else I don't know."
Coach Marc Wright is protesting the decision. He said there are a lot of seventh graders over the weight limit and they are being allowed to play.
"If they're over 135 they have to wear a symbol on their helmet, which is the X. So if they're an X-man they have to play offensive line, defensive line only," he said.
Elijah's mother, Cindy Earnheart, also plans to protest with painted signs and shirts that say, "Let Elijah Play."
"For him to come home and just cry and go to his room and say, ‘I give up.' I'm not going to let him give up. This is his dream. This is what he wants to do. And I'm going to make it happen," she said.
But Mesquite Pee Wee Football Association President Ronnie Henderson said rules are rules. He said several other players were barred Sunday night for the same reason and the X-man exemption Wright referred to only applies to elementary school players.
"The coach over there should have known this. He's been told this. He's been to our meetings. He knows this. I don't know where the misunderstanding was. We hate it. I don't like it for the kid or the parents," he said.
Henderson said he would look into the allegations that there are other seventh graders over 135 pounds playing in the league.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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