Crossover Format for Southwest Washington 2B Football Playoffs Announced
By Matt Baide
The Southwest Washington 2B football crossover playoff format has been announced, with District 4 receiving seven berths into the State 2B football playoffs.
In the previous two seasons, District 4 has only been allocated six berths by the WIAA, with six crossover games between the three divisions determining the six teams earning spots into the 16-team playoff bracket.
The two league presidents are South Bend athletic director Tom Sanchez and Adna athletic director/football coach KC Johnson. With seven spots now, Johnson emailed league representatives for proposals on how to determine the seven state playoff teams, and Johnson said he received seven different proposals.
With the new WIAA football seeding committees — Sanchez is a member of the 1B/2B committee — it took away the ability for the SWW 2B football league to determine their seeds as it was in the previous two seasons. In the first year of these divisions, the Coastal Division No. 1 earned the top seed into the state tournament and the River Division No. 1 received the top seed last year.
“District 4 could seed the bracket and we controlled the first round. With the state seeding committee, it took that away from us,” Johnson said. “The committee seeds the teams 1-16. District 4 lost our power. With the seeding rules, we wanted nobody from same division playing in the first round is what it really came down to.”
The crossover games will be played this year on Thursday, Nov. 1. The breakdown of the matchups for the crossover games are as follows, with the higher seed hosting the crossover game:
Mountain #1 vs. Coastal #4
Coastal #1 vs. River #4
River #1 vs. Mountain #4
Mountain #2 vs. Coastal #3
Coastal #2 vs. River #3
River #2 vs. Mountain #3
For the seventh and final spot, the losers of the No. 2 vs. No. 3 matchups will play in a Kansas tiebreaker game at Centralia’s Tiger Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 3. The Kansas tiebreaker is similar to college football’s overtime rules, with the exception of a few minor tweaks. The ball will start on the 25 for the first two overtimes, then the ball will move to the 10 and teams will alternate starting on offense and defense.
“With football, it is really a good group of people with the best interests of kids at heart,” Johnson said. “Without the ability to have RPI (Rating Percentage Index) poll, we were wanting to keep integrity of the original plan and this was probably the best way to go about it.”
The No. 4 teams will not be offered this opportunity to play for the seventh spot, but should a No. 4 seed upset a No. 1 seed, the No. 1 seed would be included in the tiebreaker and the four teams would be drawn from a hat at random, with Team A playing Team B and Team C playing Team D, with the winners of those two games playing each other for the seventh spot to state.
“That is what we decided as the committee, you deserve a second shot. The No. 4’s, your chance is getting in, you have to knock off a 1,” Johnson said. “That was one thing we did because we’ve never had a 4 seed getting chances. We just decided with most divisions being 6 teams, and 4 out of 6 getting a chance, that’s 66 percent.”
There were proposals that brought in WIAA committee rankings or an RPI ranking, but with no rankings or RPI before the end of the season, that wasn’t a viable option.
“A lot of the proposals had ideas, including my own, to use a possible RPI ranking to it. Do we take the top teams listed? We knew if we did that the issue might be divisional teams playing each other,” Johnson said. “We were told all along that after Week 7, we all anticipated we’d have a WIAA ranking similar to basketball. We talked to Tom (Sanchez) and they’re not going to do that.”
A No. 4 seed hasn’t upset a No. 1 seed in the first two seasons of the SWW divisional format, and Johnson said he was letting league representatives know to be ready for an emergency meeting on Friday.
“We didn’t even go there. The chances are very low, not to say it couldn’t,” Johnson said. “That’s why we played games on Thursday — be prepared for a Friday emergency meeting.”
Injury concerns were weighed into the decision, with team’s playing on Thursday and the losing teams having one day rest before competing for the seventh spot. WIAA rules state it is a district decision when it comes to playing on less than three days rest.
“We felt to move those games to Thursday would allow teams to play again Saturday,” Johnson said. “In Kansas tiebreakers, your team can play two plays, score the first play, a fumble first play and it’s over. It’s not like we’re asking them to play a half of football.”
With the seeding committee needing all seven teams to set up the 16-team bracket by Sunday, District 4 was under a time crunch to determine the state-bound teams.
“The seeding committee is supposed to have it out Sunday at noon, they need to know who our teams are,” Johnson said. “We couldn’t shorten the week by moving it up any more than a Thursday.”
The worst case scenario would be a tiebreaker needed to determine divisional seeding, which was the case in the River Division in 2016 between Mossyrock, Toutle Lake and Wahkiakum. It would set up the final games of the regular season on Friday, a tiebreaker scenario on Monday, crossover games on Thursday and potentially another tiebreaker on Saturday.
With the final four weeks of the season and lots of divisional games left, it will be interesting to see how the divisions play out down the stretch.
“That’s part of the game. I hope things go well and kids stay healthy,” Johnson said. “That’s where we went, that’s the setup. There’s a lot of football left to be played, we’ll see what happens.”