In high school football, there are no certainties.
No matter how many games you watch or what computer formula you use to assess teams, there is only one thing for sure — nothing is certain.
This season has shown that more than any in reason years.
So as we head into the final week of the regular season, and look at all the possible playoff scenarios, we’ll take nothing for granted.
So here we go. …
They’re in and set
Two teams in the region (4A to 1A) have clinched Week 10 playoff spots and know what seed they will be, regardless of what happens this week.
In the 3A Greater St. Helens League, Washougal is the No. 3 seed and will travel for its Week 10 playoff game.
In the 1A Trico League, King’s Way Christian will also be the No. 3 and travel in Week 10.
(I’ll put a post on our preps blog this week that looks at potential Week 10 playoff opponents for local teams.)
Still in the running
Five local teams either need to win this week or get some help to advance to the playoffs.
In the 3A GSHL, Woodland played its way into the playoff picture by beating Columbia River on Friday.
If the Beavers beat Mark Morris this Friday, Woodland will be the No. 4 seed to the Week 10 playoffs. If the Beavers lose, they’re out.
Columbia River will head across the state to play Clarkston in a non-league game, and the Chieftains will be score watching. If Mark Morris beats Woodland, River claims the No. 4 to the playoffs.
In the 3A GSHL, it’s Prairie and Mountain View.
Prairie finds itself in the very unusual position of finishing on the very top or completely out.
If Prairie beats Evergreen, the Falcons will be the No. 1 seed from the 3A GSHL and will host a Week 10 playoff game. But if the Falcons lose, they’ll likely be out of the playoff picture.
I say “likely” because Prairie could still be alive with a loss if Kelso loses to Hudson’s Bay. That may seem like a longshot, but we’re making no assumptions here.
If Prairie and Kelso both lose, then a three-way tie would be created between Prairie, Kelso and Mountain View, requiring a tiebreaker to determine which two teams advance to the playoffs.
Mountain View also finds itself in an odd position.
The Thunder are finished with their regular-season schedule with a Week 9 bye. They’ll be practicing this week not knowing if their season is over or not.
If Prairie beats Evergreen, Mountain View is done.
But if Evergreen wins, the Thunder will be the No. 3 seed to the playoffs, again providing Kelso beats Bay.
Oddly enough, Kelso’s win over Mountain View did not clinch a playoff spot for the Hilanders. Kelso will clinch that berth with a win over Bay this week, or with a Prairie win over Evergreen. If Prairie beats Evergreen, Kelso will be the No. 2 seed, win or lose. But if Kelso and Prairie lose, then we have that three-way tie.
In, but seeds unsettled
Eight other teams have clinched playoff berths, but their seeding will be determined this week.
In the 4A GSHL, it’s Camas, Skyview and Union. In the 3A GSHL, it’s Evergreen. In the 2A GSHL, it’s Hockinson and Ridgefield. And in the 1A Trico, it’s La Center and Castle Rock.
4A GSHL: The easiest outcome is if Camas beats Union. Then seeds will go Camas No. 1, Skyview No. 2 and Union No. 3. But if Union wins, a three-way tie is likely. That tie will be broken by coin flip, as all three teams have clinched playoff spots. The only way a three-way tie won’t happen is if Skyview loses to Heritage, then seeds will go Union No. 1, Camas No. 2 and Skyview No. 3.
3A GSHL: Evergreen is playing this week to host a Week 10 playoff game. If the Plainsmen beat Prairie, they will be the No. 2 seed and host a playoff game (unless Kelso loses to Bay, then Evergreen will be No. 1).
2A GSHL: Ridgefield plays at Hockinson this week. The winner is the No. 1 seed, the loser is No. 2. Both will host Week 10 playoffs.
1A Trico: La Center and Castle Rock will play Friday for the league championships. The winner is the No. 1 seed to the playoffs, loser is No. 2. Both host Week 10 playoffs.
Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep editor for The Columbian. He can be reached 360-735-4538, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow his Twitter handle @360TMart.