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RIVERVIEW — With the sun fading and the clock fast approaching 7:15 p.m., Spoto coach Dale Caparaso tried to stop practice with the announcement of “last play.”
The defense protested — twice — and practice continued on.
“They’re funny kids,” Caparaso said after he finally succeeded in getting them off the field.
The Spartans haven’t had much to laugh about this week.
The team was informed Tuesday by principal Phillip Carr that the school was forfeiting what was previously a 38-0 win over Riverview due to the use of an ineligible player. Caparaso, who said the situation had nothing to do with academic eligibility, called it a result of a “lack of communication."
He downplayed the significance of the change to his players.
“I mean, we won that football game 38-0 and probably could have won 50-0,” he said. “There is nobody at Spoto high school or Riverview high school that would dispute who the better football team is. And that’s the approach we took with our kids.”
Since the game was not a district game, Spoto’s playoff chase wasn’t affected by the change. Last year, the Spartans weren’t as lucky—a forfeit by Blake due to the use of an ineligible player broke a three-way tie for second place in last year’s district, and Spoto was the odd team out.
The Spartans (0-2) face a district foe Friday in their game against Middleton (0-3).
“We’ll be a lot more focused,” quarterback Jaylin Davis said. “We’ve seen film on Middleton and Jesuit. They’re good teams, but we’re better. We’re faster and we have more athletes.”
Spoto’s athletes are starting to settle into a rhythm. Wide receiver Geronimo Allison, who at 6-foot-4 is nearly a head taller than the rest of Spoto’s playmakers, said he has learned to be more aggressive on both sides of the ball. Allison, a senior, is playing football for the first time since his freshman year.
“I’ve got to be ready to go,” he said. “From now on, every game counts.”