Hillsborough and Armwood will retain their playoff berths after the Florida High School Athletic Association announced Monday that it would not immediately rule on an eligibility issue that could have created a three-way tie in Class 6A, District 8.
The FHSAA is still reviewing the academic eligibility of a football player at Jefferson, a process that could have forced the Dragons to forfeit wins over King and Sickles (and a non-district win over Newsome on Sept. 7).
If the FHSAA had ruled the Jefferson player ineligible, Sickles' district record would have improved to 5-1 and moved the Gryphons into a first-place tie with Hillsborough and Armwood. A tiebreaker would have been played at 7 tonight at Hillsborough High.
Instead, the FHSAA said a decision could not be reached in time for a tiebreaker.
"It's still being looked at," FHSAA spokesman Corey Sobers said. "As something hasn't been decided, there's not going to be a tiebreaker."
As a result, Hillsborough (7-1, 5-1) remains the district champion and Armwood (7-3, 5-1) is the runnerup and owner of the district's second playoff berth. Sickles (6-3, 4-2) finished its district schedule in third place and out of the postseason. Hillsborough will host Osceola on Nov. 16, while Armwood travels to Largo.
Hillsborough County athletic director Lanness Robinson said all three schools had been told to prepare as if they would have to play a tiebreaker at Hillsborough, which has the best overall record.
"As far as not playing tonight, I'm happy about it because I don't feel we should've been put in that situation from the beginning," Armwood coach Sean Callahan said. "It just seems like it was so drawn out."
Sickles coach Brian Turner declined to comment.
Staff writer Joey Knight contributed to this report.