Last week’s slate of high school football showdowns not only brought a good amount of on-field drama and action, it also brought a little more clarity.
After last week’s games, the high school football season moved into its final third, with just three weeks left. So it seems like a good time to look at what most teams need to do to reach the playoffs in Week 10.
And the following scenarios are all based on the premise that there won’t be any major upsets in the closing weeks of league play in the 4A, 3A and 2A Greater St. Helens Leagues as well as the 1A Trico League.
Just like last season, it appears that a playoff-worthy team from the 4A GSHL will be denied a postseason berth.
Last year, it was 7-2 Battle Ground. This year, who will it be?
Postseason berths are allocated to each league proportionally, based on how many teams each league has. Because the 4A GSHL is a five-team league, it receives only two berths to the Week 10 playoffs.
In 3A, the 3A GSHL has six teams, so it receives three berths.
Right now, the race for those two berths in the 4A GSHL appears to be between Camas, Skyview and Union.
After Skyview’s loss to Camas last Friday, the Storm will be in a must-win situation when they face Union in Week 8.
If Union wins that Week 8 matchup, then the Titans’ Week 9 game against Camas will decide the league champion, with the loser receiving the No. 2 seed to the postseason.
But if Skyview wins in Week 8, then Union’s game with Camas becomes a must-win game for the Titans.
And, of course, the possibility of a three-way tie for first remains.
Three teams advance to the postseason, and the stage was set last week for potential repeat of last season.
Last season, Evergreen, Prairie and Hudson’s Bay needed a tiebreaker to decide the No. 3 berth to the playoffs. That tiebreaker was necessary because Hudson’s Bay beat Evergreen, Evergreen beat Prairie, and Prairie beat Bay in league play.
This season is like a mirror image. A tiebreaker may eventually be necessary because Evergreen beat Bay, Bay beat Prairie and Prairie beat Evergreen.
That tiebreaker would be needed if Mountain View and Kelso both win all of their remaining league games.
Mountain View’s win over Kelso Friday put the Thunder on the inside track to claim the No. 1 seed.
The road to the playoffs is a little less clear in the 2A GSHL. That’s because the league will receive four playoff berths this season, and there isn’t as clear of a separation between teams in the league.
After last week’s win at Washougal, Hockinson has established itself as the top team in the league. But the race for the other three playoff spots could be a free-for-all with no team out of contention for a playoff berth.
Washougal, Columbia River, Woodland and R.A. Long look to be the four teams in the hunt for those three spots. But you can’t yet exclude Mark Morris or Ridgefield.
La Center showed with last week’s win over Stevenson that it remains the team to beat in the Trico. The league will receive three berths to the Week 10 playoffs.
The Wildcats can lock up a league title with a win in Week 8 against Columbia-White Salmon.
If Stevenson beats Castle Rock this Friday, then the Week 9 meeting between Stevenson and White Salmon likely will sort out the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds to the playoffs.
Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep editor for The Columbian. He can be reached at 360-735-4538, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow his Twitter handle @360TMart.