We've seen a lot of unusual high school sports stories pop up due to the ongoing pandemic. But we haven't seen anything quite like what happened Thursday in Florida, where the junior varsity team at Steinbrenner (Lutz)
was forced to replace the varsity in the Class 7A District 13 championship game Thursday – and won.Sarah Hollenbeck of WFTS Tampa Bay reports
that Steinbrenner's varsity team was placed in quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure. The Warriors had the option to forfeit or call up the junior varsity squad en masse to face Palm Harbor University.
Steinbrenner (16-7) elected to give it a go with the JV. The Warriors lost the first set 20-25, rallied to win the second 25-22 then fell again in the third 23-25. With its backs against the wall, the Tampa-area school prevailed 25-22 and 15-13 in the final two sets. Here's the dramatic final sequence:
Thanks to the efforts of the late replacements, Steinbrenner enters the Class 7A state tournament as the top seed from District 13 and is scheduled to face Sickles (Tampa) next Friday. According to Hollenbeck, the varsity team is expected to be available for that contest.
Palm Harbor University also advances and will meet Plant on Wednesday. There is an outside shot the two teams could meet again in the regional semifinals.