photos by Tamas Mondovics

On their quest to reach the district title, the Spoto High School Spartans non-league season opener game may not matter, but to varsity football program head coach Dale Caparaso his team’s 24-17 loss at home to the Riverview Sharks was not the way to start.

“We are a young team as we are starting seven sophomores this year, but hope to turn in a much strong game,” Caparaso said.

On the other hand, game one was the Sharks time to walk away with a win and was an important debut for former East Bay assistant coach, Mike Thornton, as the new head football coach in charge.

“We had a very productive summer and are ready for the season’s challenge,” Thornton said.

Giving their fans a hope for a victory, Spoto began strong, taking a 14-10 lead into halftime, but to the disappointment of the coaching staff, mistakes marked the Spartans remaining efforts making way for their guests to pick up the momentum, including a fumble that Riverview’s Mike McGuire turned into a 42-yard touchdown.

While Spartans receiver Bryan Barr caught seven passes for 138 yards and the Sharks scored three touchdowns to take the game, it was clear from the start that, to make the season count, both teams have to perform a whole lot better than their season opener scrimmage.

For Riverview, this year’s district lineup includes East Bay, Plant, Brandon, Newsome and Durant, while Spoto faces a nine-team conference season with Gibbs, Middleton, Jesuit, Dunedin, Blake, Robinson, Lennard and Lakewood.

For more information about the 2012-2013 varsity football season, please visit

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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.