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Durango beats Desert Oasis, players kneel during national anthem

Durango linebacker T.K Fotu returned an interception 70 yards for a touchdown, and the Trailblazers held on for a 20-12 home victory over Desert Oasis on Friday.

Before the game, half to three-quarters of Durango’s players knelt during the national anthem in support of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s stance on social equality.

Desert Oasis, down 20-0 at half, had a pass that could have set them up for a game-tying 2-point conversion ruled incomplete when the receiver was out of bounds on the game’s final play. Jaden Mitchell caught two scores for Desert Oasis.

Durango coach Matt Gerber said it was the players’ prerogative to kneel during the national anthem and that he would “hold them accountable on the field for that.”

“That’s their right as an American,” Gerber said.

“It doesn’t affect our football team and what we do between the white lines,” Gerber said. “It doesn’t affect us and our preparation for the game, so it was something that we heard kind of might happen and it did. It happened and we move on.”

Fotu was not one of the players who knelt, but he said that his feelings didn’t change about those who did.

“I stood up because most of my family went to the military, and so did my grandpa,” Fotu said. “We respect that. We’re a family.”

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