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Rota falls to SHAPE, but still qualifies for playoffs

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 21, 2017

ROTA, Spain -- They didn’t win, but they’re in.

The defending DODEA-Europe Division II champion Rota Admirals will advance to the postseason next weekend despite suffering a dramatic 23-21 loss to the SHAPE Spartans on Saturday.

That outcome, coupled with a 50-6 win by International School of Brussels over AFNORTH/Brussels on Friday night, created a three-way tie among 2-2 squads Rota, SHAPE and ISB for the North region’s second and final berth in the Division II semifinals. Rota advanced by virtue of its point differential in the games among the three teams, and in fact was a runaway winner in the tiebreaker math. ISB took a 37-14 loss to Rota, while SHAPE absorbed a 38-17 loss to ISB. Rota stayed on the good side of that ISB blowout and wasn’t severely punished by its two-point loss.

While it ultimately went for naught, SHAPE ends its season on a two-game winning streak and a memorable last-minute win over the reigning champs. The Spartans scored with 47 seconds to play in the game to earn the victory.

While SHAPE got the win it wanted, and would have advanced to the playoffs in the event of a head-to-head tie with Rota. ISB removed that possibility with its victory Friday night. Filip Havlena piled up 421 all-purpose yards and scored six touchdowns to lead ISB to the win.

Rota will travel to Aviano, the undefeated South regional champion, for a semifinal game next weekend.

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