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No district tiebreaker for 6A-8 football title
Posted Nov 5, 2012 by Bill Ward
Updated Nov 5, 2012 at 12:04 PM
Some 10 days after defeating King and believing it had won the Class 6A-District 8 football championship only to learn it could wind up losing the title due to the potential ineligibility of a player at another school, Hillsborough High can officially celebrate. The Terriers are the district’s official winner while rival Armwood is runner-up.
FHSAA executive director Roger Dearing told the Tampa Tribune on Monday morning that although his staff is still in the process of determining the academic eligibility of a Jefferson student-athlete—a situation that could have sent 6A-8 into a three-way tie and forced a tiebreaker tonight—the district’s champion and runner-up as determined by results on the field will stand as is.
Dearing said there will be no district tiebreaker played today or going forward. He also said the Jefferson player’s eligibility will eventually require an interpretation by the state’s Department of Education. That, he says, will take time.
‘‘We have a (FHSAA) rule that says if (a request for an eligibility ruling) occurs within 45 days of the state championship, we may or may not make a decision,’’ Dearing said. ‘‘In this matter, we will let DOE decide before we make our final ruling.’’
With Monday’s news from the FHSAA, Hillsborough and the district’s runner-up, Armwood, can finally prepare for their Nov. 16 playoff games. The Terriers will host Seminole Osceola while Armwood will travel to face Largo.
If the FHSAA had made a ruling sooner on the Jefferson player, Sickles could have picked up a district win by forfeit. That would have sent the district into a three-way tie between Sickles, Hillsborough and Armwood, which would have forced a tiebreaker tonight at the Terriers’ field.
‘‘It was a stressful week because we were preparing for three different teams—Armwood and Sickles in the tiebreaker and our final game of the (regular) season, Chamberlain,’’ said Hillsborough coach Earl Garcia. ‘‘It was a playoff atmosphere without the playoff and everyone was on edge. We had an open date last week and I would’ve liked to have given my coaches and kids some down time but because of this situation, we couldn’t afford to.
‘‘I’ve been doing this 39 seasons and never seen anything like this. I’m just glad it’s over. We won it on the field and I’m very happy for my staff and our team.’‘
Armwood coach Sean Callahan said along with their usual post-game work, he and his staff prepared all weekend for tonight’s possible tiebreaker with Sickles. He, too, is relieved there will not be one.
‘‘We’re excited about being part of the playoffs,’’ Callahan said. ‘‘Obviously, we’re relieved because this is our open week and we need a break. It would’ve been really hard on everyone if we had to play the tiebreaker. Now we can get ready for a very good Largo team.’’