The Spoto football team knew how important winning Friday's district finale against Lakewood would be.
They didn't, however, know exactly how costly losing it would be.
The morning after his team's toughest loss of the season, Spoto coach Dale Caparaso had to tell his team even worse news during Saturday morning's film session.
In a span of less than 24 hours, the Spartans went from controlling their own playoff destiny to helpless about the sudden end of their
Spoto (6-4, 3-2) could have clinched a playoff spot with a win over Lakewood, but Lakewood's 28-22 win, along with Blake's loss to
district champ Jefferson, forced an apparent three-team tiebreak for the runner up spot out of Class 3A-8.
On Saturday, Hillsborough County athletic director Lanness Robinson confirmed that Blake would have to forfeit its 21-14 district win over Osceola for use an ineligible player.
A three-way tie suddenly became a two-way tie, and Lakewood's win over Spoto Friday night served as the head-to-head tiebreaker.
So just like that, Lakewood (5-4, 3-2) is playoff bound. And Spoto, which has a Week 10 bye so its season is over, is the true loser of the situation.
Caparaso told his team during Saturday morning's film session.
"We're all devastated," Caparaso said. "The kids are devastated. I'm devastated. No one likes to be the bearer of bad news. You hate to see it for the kids. They've worked so hard all season. Last night was bad enough, and then to have this today, it's tough."
Spoto obviously didn't realize Friday's game would have increased magnitude, but Caparaso said that the fact Spoto could have taken care of its own fate with a win Friday added to the disappointment.
"The bottom line is that we didn't get the job done when we needed to," Caparaso said. "We nearly has 500 yards total offense last night. We had the ball inside their 20 five times. We had the ball at the end of the game and we couldn't get it done."
- EDUARDO A. ENCINA (firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @EddieHometeam)