Extra Points: Brian Spano 10/28
By Brian Spano PrepsKC Staff Writer
Before the high school football season began, I wrote a column about what I like best about high school football. Well, this time I’m going to write a column on why I like the district playoff format.
Four teams. Three games. It’s what the season boils down to. It provides drama, suspense and excitement. Some will say that the first seven games are meaningless. Just the last three matter because those determine the district champion and runner up, both of which advance to the postseason.
It’s true that the last three games are the most important, but regarding the first seven: I beg to differ. Those seven games do matter. Teams want to win to keep up momentum as they head into district play. It gives coaches the opportunity to see what kind of team they have and how well they can compete in district play. Teams are vying for conference championships. There is a lot of pride involved in those seven games.
But, I don’t want to focus on those.
Let’s talk district playoffs. Win and advance. Lose and go home.
The beauty of the format is that everyone has a chance. Teams can control their own destiny by winning out; however, if a team wins one or two games out of three, sometimes they will need help and have to root for teams they wouldn’t otherwise root for. The point system in Missouri was designed to help with tiebreakers.
So, here’s your quick primer on the point system: For every game decided by 13 points or more the winning team earns 13 points, while the losing team stands with -13 points. Any game decided by less than 13 points, the winning team gets as many points as the point differential in the game. Let’s use Mill Valley and Bishop Miege as an example. If Miege defeats Mill Valley 17-14, Miege would be +3, while Mill Valley would be at -3 in the standings. If say, Mill Valley routs Miege 42-10, then Mill Valley is +13, and Miege would be at -13. Simple.
I also like that districts sometimes get realigned to keep things fresh. It sets up new rivalries and the possibility of first-time matchups.
Take for example the Lee’s Summit-Lee’s Summit West game a couple of weeks ago. This year was the first time these two schools have ever met on the football field. Although West won the game handily, a new, natural cross-town rivalry has been cemented.
Look to the Kansas side in the matchup between Gardner-Edgerton and St. Thomas Aquinas. Both teams have had incredible success recently. These two schools have developed an intense rivalry, and it has been exposed to a national audience through their district matchup televised on ESPNU.
The district assignments also try to keep longtime rivals together, as long as they stay in the same class of course.
Blue Springs and Blue Springs South opened district play with an epic overtime battle that the Wildcats eventually won. There’s always a chance that these two teams my see one another somewhere down the road.
Then, there’s the longstanding battle of Raytown between Raytown High School and Raytown South High School. Both teams have been up and down over the last 20 years or so, but make no mistake, both teams get up for it, and it’s a good district rivalry.
Right now is when the best and most competitive high school football is being played in the metro. It is when teams step up to give it all they have because they know that if they aren’t one of the top two teams in their district, they will have a long winter and spring to think about the next season.
Knob Noster Panthers
Pleasant Hill Roosters
Sweet Springs Greyhounds
Shawnee Mission Northwest Cougars
Ruskin Golden Eagles
Derrick Thomas Academy Chiefs
Mid Buchanan Dragons
Pembroke Hill Raiders
Oak Park Northmen
Olathe East Hawks
Bishop Ward Cyclones
Santa Fe Trail Chargers
Park Hill Trojans
St. Joseph Benton Cardinals
Hogan Prep Academy Rams
Lawrence Free State Firebirds
Pleasant Ridge Rams