Area teams' fates rest on final day of seasonToday is the final day of the regular season for South Dakota high school football, and several playoff spots are up for grabs.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
Today is the final day of the regular season for South Dakota high school football, and several playoff spots are up for grabs.
All six classes of football have 12 teams make the state playoffs. In Class AA 11-man football, the top 12 teams qualify for postseason play.
In all other classes, however, regions are the basis for many playoff spots. In Class 11A and 11B, as well as all 9-man classes, the top three teams in each region earn a berth into the state playoffs and the next four teams based on power point standings earn at-large bids.
The top two teams in each region also earn a home playoff game.
Some teams have already locked up a home playoff game, such as Winner, which finished the year 8-0. The Warriors sit in first place in Region 3 in Class 11B and are off this week. The rest of that region is up in the air entering tonight.
Wagner currently sits in second with a 5-2 record and 50.429 power points. Power points are calculated based on wins and losses, class of opponents and number of wins by opponents.
Parkston has the third best power point total in Region 3, with 50 points heading into its final game. Bon Homme is fourth with 48.429 points and a 3-4 record. Even with a loss, Bon Homme is likely to earn an at-large bid, but with a win and a Parkston loss the Cavaliers could jump into the third seed.
“You definitely want to end up on a positive note,” Bon Homme coach Byron Pudwill said. “Whatever happens happens, but the three-seed is better than four.”
The difference in the seeding could be huge for the Cavaliers, who lost 27-7 to top-seeded Winner but beat Wagner 20-0.
Parkston head coach Eric Norden said his team needs a win for more than just seeding purposes as the Trojans face off with Garretson at 7 p.m. today in Garretson.
“It’s a big game for us,” he said. “This is a good team and we want to build confidence going into the postseason.”
Wagner travels to Chamberlain for its final game and if the Red Raiders lose, Parkston could host a playoff game as the second seed in the region.
“The playoff picture is still kind of cloudy,” Norden said. “You can stress about that but it really doesn’t do much good. We just have to take care of the things that we can and see where everything ends up when we’re done.”
Wagner’s game could also make a difference in Chamberlain’s postseason.
The Cubs enter the final game as the second seed in Region 3 in Class 11A. With a win, the team can lock up a home playoff game, but with a loss the team could end up traveling to take on Cheyenne-Eagle Butte or Little Wound, depending on how those teams finish.
“We just need to play hard and leave it on the field and everything else will take its shape,” Chamberlain coach John King said.
In the 9-man playoff picture, many area teams’ futures will be decided tonight.
Entering the final day, Mount Vernon and Hanson are both in the playoff picture despite not being in the top three teams in Region 2. The region has three 7-0 teams with Hamlin, Canistota and Arlington.
Mount Vernon (3-4) has the third best power point score among at-large bids with 49.286. Hanson is the fourth-best with 48, but the Beavers regular season came to an end last week.
Both teams are followed by Kakoda Area with 47.857 power points. Even with a win, the Kougars would need bonus points by getting wins from its previous opponents to jump Hanson in the standings.
Other area teams that currently have playoff spots in Class 9A are Region 3’s top squad Corsica/Stickney (5-2) and South Central (3-4), which has 48.142 power points for third place in Region 3.
In Class 9AA, Kimball/White Lake’s 8-0 finish earned it the top seed in Region 3, while Gregory (6-1, 54.571) and Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan (5-2, 53.429) look to battle for the region’s other home playoff game.
Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan finishes its season against Corsica/Stickney in Bridgewater, while Gregory takes on Tripp-Delmont/Armour in Gregory.
Tripp-Delmont/Armour (1-6) will not be in the state playoffs, but can play a spoiler to the Gorillas’ hopes of hosting a postseason contest.
In Region 2, Howard is tied with Elkton-Lake Benton with 5-2 records and 50 power points heading into the last contest. Howard travels to Mount Vernon to end the season, while Elkton-Lake Benton faces De Smet/Iroquois in De Smet.
In Class 9B, Avon seems to have a spot locked up as the second seed in Region 2. The Pirates finished their season at 5-3. Plankinton is the fourth seed in Region 2 and knows that nothing is a guarantee.
“If we win, we’re in the playoffs,” Plankinton head coach Ryan Pryor said. “If we lose, there’s still that gamble of the right team’s losing.”
Plankinton has no easy matchup to end the year, traveling to take on Warner, Class 9A’s No. 2-ranked team that is 7-0.
“Looking at the forecast with it being windy and rainy, it could be anybody’s game,” Pryor said.
Marion is one team that could benefit from a Plankinton loss, however the Bears’ season is over and the team’s fate will be decided by other games. Marion has 45.25 power points, which could be enough to keep its season going.
With so many playoff spots and seeds up in the air, coaches and fans will be checking scores from around the state constantly.
“The great thing with the technology these days is you can check on the scores,” Pryor said.
In the end, they will just have to wait until everything unfolds to figure out exactly where their teams end up.