You didn't need a West Florida High education to diagnose the anguish Harry Lees felt.
Moments after a painful 28-10 postseason loss to Tallahassee Godby, the school's football coach stood before his team a full minute before he uttered a word.
Tears rolled down his cold face. When Lees finally did speak, there was no controlling the crackling of his voice.
"You went toe-to-toe with the best in the state and took their best," Lees told his team. "Everybody said you were going to get blown out, and you never backed down. I couldn't be more proud. It was a heckuva ride."
Lees wanted so desperately to get West Florida High its first playoff win Friday in a Region 1-5A quarterfinal rematch with Tallahassee Godby.
Unfortunately, like so many things with this Jaguars program, it'll have to wait.
The fifth-ranked Cougars clawed past third-ranked West Florida High thanks to a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions and a pair of 100-yard rushers.
Godby (10-1) handed the Jaguars (10-1) their only loss and advanced to next week's regional semifinals where it will try to exact revenge against district rival Crawfordville Wakulla, which went undefeated during the regular season for the first time in school history and is 11-0.
"This one was very difficult," Cougars coach Ronnie Cottrell said. "The score is not indicative of how tough this was. I have to give a lotta credit to Harry Lees. He has done a great job here with a tremendous football team."
Godby quickly discovered early on this wasn't the same West Florida High group it dismantled 58-17 in this round on this same field last year.
Clinging to just a 14-10 lead early in the fourth, the Cougars were knocking on the door for what they hoped would be a knockout touchdown when disaster struck.
Godby quarterback J.T. Bradwell fumbled the snap, a recurring theme all game on this frigid night, and the Jaguars recovered inside their own 1-yard line.
"Our defense played outstanding," Lees said.
Quarterback Joey Baker, who had scored West Florida's only touchdown moments earlier, was determined to lead his team on a 99-yard march to take the lead.
He hit receiver Chris Mitchell on 24-yard completion to the 25 and matriculate the Jags out of the shadow of their end zone.
What courage it took for Lees to call that play. What courage it took for Baker to throw it up. And what courage it took for Mitchell to climb the ladder in traffic and come down with the ball.
"The kids fought," Lees said. "It didn't matter who was in there."
West Florida High quickly moved into Godby territory behind Baker's big arm that finished the night with 234 yards to pass the 3,000-yard mark through the air for the season.
But on second-and-4 from the Cougars' 43, Baker overthrew his target and defensive back Lester Thomas came down with the ball.
Godby's offense took over, held tight to the rock and Bradwell guided them on an 86-yard touchdown drive that broke the Jaguars' spirits.
Afterward, as Lees, his assistants, cheerleaders, fans and even a few players hopelessly fought their emotions, the third-year head coach somehow maintained perspective.
"It's a process for us to compete, which means we gotta go to work," Lees said. "But who would've thought West Florida would win 19 games in two years. We proved a lot. Hopefully, we can get over that hump."
Before last season, the Jaguars hadn't made the playoffs since 2004.
At Woodham Middle School
Godby...0 7 7 14 -- 28
West Florida...3 0 7 0 -- 10
WF-Luke Jackson 26 field goal 5:04
G-Khalid Thomas 3 run (Logan Roberts kick) 9:59
G-Keny Young 27 run (Roberts kick) 2:54
WF-Joey Baker 1 run (Luke Jackson kick) 1:15
G-Young 19 run (Roberts kick) 5:55
G-Tim Longmire 1 run (Roberts kick) 3:53