Head coach Ajani Sanders just wants an opportunity for his football team to win a game this year. The first 10 tries haven't worked out as he would have liked, but the team has one more shot ahead -- in the playoffs.

So what if the team is 0-10?

While some scoff at the notion, that's precisely Houston Scarborough's fortune. Thanks to a quirk in how playoff spots are awarded in Texas high school football, the Spartans were guaranteed a playoff shot no matter how bad they were during the regular season.

And not to pile on the program, which was only started a few years ago and is still in development, but Houston Scarborough was bad this season. The Spartans have a 57-game losing streak and lost their 10 games this season by an average margin of 53-8.

Houston Scarborough's playoff spot was guaranteed earlier this year, when the state's governing body for high school sports placed the Spartans in a five-team district. The top four of those teams would be given playoff berths.

But one of those schools then faced the risk of being closed, and was only able to stay open by dramatically cutting its spending. That meant the football team had to be scrapped.

When that happened, Scarborough was effectively penciled into the playoffs.


Although an early-season visit from NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice failed to inspire the team to a win, the school's head coach remains upbeat and believes that opportunity will eventually offer its rewards.

And if that doesn't come this season, next season is a possibility: Because district assignments are structured for two-year cycles, Houston Scarborough may have its ticket already punched to next year's playoff, too.

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