MESTER: Trying to sort out Mitchell's playoff pictureIf the high school football season ended today, Mitchell would be the No. 6 seed in the Class 11AA playoffs and host Aberdeen Central in a first-round game on Oct. 25 at Joe Quintal Field.
By: Travis Mester, The Daily Republic
If the high school football season ended today, Mitchell would be the No. 6 seed in the Class 11AA playoffs and host Aberdeen Central in a first-round game on Oct. 25 at Joe Quintal Field.
There are quite a few things that need to happen before anything becomes even remotely official, though.
The Kernels (6-2 overall, 4-2 Eastern South Dakota Conference) finish the regular season Thursday night at Huron. The Tigers are 3-5 overall and sit in 12th place out of 16 11AA teams in the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s power-points system.
First things first: The Kernels need a win against their biggest rival.
Mitchell is a decisive favorite against the Tigers, so if the Kernels win, a handful of games around the state will influence whether Mitchell will be seeded fourth, fifth or sixth in the postseason, which starts Tuesday.
“We’re just going to focus on Huron and let the chips fall where they may,” Mitchell coach Kent VanOverschelde said Monday evening during a discussion with The Daily Republic about the most-recent power-point standings. “That’s what any coach or player would tell you this time of year.”
Good idea, coach. Worrying about an ultra-confusing power-point formula is not exactly what should be on the Kernels’ mindsright now.
But me? I’ll take a shot.
Entering today, Mitchell, which has a 51.250 power-point average, sits between Brandon Valley and Yankton, the two teams that have beaten the Kernels this season.
Yankton, which downed Mitchell 34-29 last week, is tied for fourth in the power-point standings with Sioux Falls Washington with 53.125 averages. Brandon Valley, which handed the Kernels their first loss of the season 14-8 on Sept. 16, is seventh with a 50.250 power-point average.
Yankton hosts Brandon Valley on Thursday in a game that will decide the ESD championship. It also is the contest Mitchell fans should consider their top priority, aside from the Kernels’ game in Huron, of course.
If Yankton wins, it could move as high as third in the power-point standings if Sioux Falls Lincoln loses to Sioux Falls O’Gorman.
If Brandon Valley wins, a top-four seed and first-round bye would still be a possibility for the Kernels.
Sioux Falls Washington plays top-ranked and unbeaten Sioux Falls Roosevelt on Thursday night at Howard Wood Field in the second-most important outcome to Mitchell fans. If the heavily favored Rough Riders remain unbeaten, Washington could fall below Mitchell and into a tie with Brandon Valley — if the Lynx lose to Yankton — for the sixth spot in the power rankings.
As a Mitchell fan, here are the two most important things to know:
-- Brandon Valley and Roosevelt need to win Thursday to help the Kernels have a shot at a first-round bye. Otherwise, Mitchell would host a first-round game Tuesday at Joe Quintal Field.
-- The first-round bye Mitchell is hoping for would not be guaranteed until all Class 11AA results were known, because teams receive three bonus points for each of their opponents' wins during the season and other scenarios are possible. Brandon Valley and Roosevelt winning, however, gives Mitchell its highest position in the power-point standings.
As for Mitchell’s first-round opponent, a lot could depend on the Pierre versus Watertown matchup. Pierre is 13th in the power-point rankings and would be the first team left out of the new playoff bracket if the season ended today. This season is the first time Class 11AA will not have 16 playoff qualifiers, a decision that was approved at an April meeting of the SDHSAA Board of Directors.
If Yankton beats Brandon Valley, Pierre (2-6) beats Watertown (1-7) and Mitchell beats Huron, Pierre could take Huron’s spot, or the final spot, in the postseason.
The Kernels also will have an eye on the Rapid City Stevens (3-5) versus Rapid City Central (3-5) game — which Central is favored to win. Central is ninth and Stevens is 10th in the current standings and both could be possible first-round opponents for Mitchell. Huron still could make the playoffs with a loss and a Watertown victory. In that case, Mitchell could host the Tigers in the first round.
If Mitchell finds its way to a top-four seed and a first-round bye, the Kernels would host the winner of the fifth-seed versus the 12th-seed first-round game in a quarterfinal.
Yes, Mitchell fans, that does mean a return trip for Yankton to Joe Quintal Field would be a strong possibility.
If Mitchell finishes in fifth, another not-so-hard-to-believe occurrence, a first-round home victory — possibly over Aberdeen or Huron — could send the Kernels to Yankton, or to Sioux Falls for a second matchup with Lincoln. I wonder if the Patriots would be ready for that game.
Here’s my prediction on what will happen:
-- Yankton beats Brandon Valley, ending Mitchell’s shot a first-round bye. The Bucks move up to fourth ahead of Washington, which will lose to Roosevelt.
Mitchell earns the fifth spot with a win over Huron, Washington finishes sixth and Brandon Valley seventh.
Pierre will sneak in with a win over Watertown and take Huron’s spot. The Governors will bump past Aberdeen Central to the 11th seed in the power-point standings.
That leaves Aberdeen visiting Joe Quintal Field for a first-round game against the Kernels. The winner would head to Yankton for a quarterfinal against a rested Bucks team.
A lot of the aforementioned information could be thrown out the window with one big upset — say a Washington over Roosevelt or an Aberdeen over Brookings situation.
And if Mitchell stubs its toe against the Tigers on Thursday evening … let’s leave that for another story.
SDHSAA point system formula for qualifying for first round of Class 1AA playoffs
a. Each team will receive 45 points for a win over a same division team, 40 points for a win over a lower division team, 25 points for a loss to a same division team and 20 points for a loss to a lower division team
b. Each team will receive 3 bonus points for each of their opponents' wins during the season.
1) Opponents’ wins are tabulated each week even though your school has not yet played that opponent
2) Schools do not receive bonus points for opponents’ win over their school
c. A team’s point rating will be determined by dividing the total number of points earned by the number of games played.
d. One additional point will be added to the final point average for an undefeated season.
South Dakota High School Activities Association Football Power Points Results
as of Monday
1. SF Roosevelt 8-0, 58.125; 2. SF O’Gorman 7-1, 56.375; 3. SF Lincoln 6-2, 55.375; 4. SF Washington 6-2, 53.125; 5. Yankton 6-2, 53.125; 6.
Mitchell 6-2, 51.250; 7. Brandon Valley 5-3, 50.250; 8. Brookings 4-4, 47.750; 9. RC Central 3-5, 45.375; 10. RC Stevens 3-5, 43.875; 11.
Aberdeen Central 2-6, 43.500; 12. Huron 3-5, 42.125; 13. Pierre 2-6, 41.250; 14. Watertown 1-7, 40.625; 15. Sturgis 1-7, 40.000; 16.
Douglas 0-8, 31.625.