Week 9 of the high school football season is always a favorite for me.
Not only is it the scheduled culmination of the regular season with many big games, but I also like to figure out all the possible scenarios as teams try to vie for league titles and playoff positions.
But there are a couple of common missteps that people — fans, players coaches, administrators and media — sometimes fall into when trying to sort out the possible outcomes for Week 9 games.
First of all, unlike in the pro ranks, tiebreakers do not determine league champions in high school sports.
In high school sports, if two teams finished tied atop the league standings with identical records, those teams are co-champions. Period.
Now if Team A beat Team B, that is a tiebreaker, and the tiebreaker is used to determine seeding into the playoffs. But the two teams are still co-champions.
The second one seems a bit straightforward, but you’d be surprised how often it occurs. It goes like this: You can’t presume an outcome.
Even if the undefeated first-place team is facing the winless last-place team, you can’t assume the first-place team is going to win, even if it’s very likely.
But it happens.
So to make sure you don’t make similar mistakes, I’ve sorted out the possibilities for all three Greater St. Helens Leagues and the Trico League.
4A Greater St. Helens League
Teams in the mix (league records): Camas (2-0), Skyview (2-1), Union (1-1).
Playoff spots/clinched: 2/0.
League games this week: Camas vs. Union (Fri.)
Scenarios: If Camas beats Union, Camas wins the league title and Skyview takes the second berth to the Week 10 playoffs. If Union beats Camas, Camas, Skyview and Union finished tied for the league title, requiring a three-team tiebreaker to determine which two teams advance to the playoffs and which team is out. Week 10 matchups will be determined by a matchup committee on Sunday.
3A Greater St. Helens League
Teams in the mix (league records): Mountain View (3-0), Kelso (3-1).
Playoff spots/clinched: 2/2 (Mountain View and Kelso).
League games this week: Evergreen vs. Mountain View (Thu.).
Scenarios: If Mountain View beats Evergreen, the Thunder will win the league title outright. Otherwise, Mountain View and Kelso are co-champions. Week 10 matchups will be determined by a matchup committee on Sunday.
2A Greater St. Helens League
Teams in the mix (league records): Ridgefield (6-0), Hockinson (5-1), Mark Morris (4-2), Columbia River (3-3), Washougal (3-3).
Playoff spots/clinched: 4/3 (Ridgefield, Hockinson, Mark Morris).
League games this week: Hudson’s Bay vs. Columbia River (Thu.), Woodland vs. Ridgefield (Fri.), Washougal vs. Hockinson (Fri.), R.A. Long vs. Mark Morris (Fri.)
Scenarios: Columbia River will lock in the fourth and final spot to the Week 10 district playoffs with a win over Hudson’s Bay. River could also clinch the spot with a loss if Washougal also loses to Hockinson. Washougal gets the final spot with a win over Hockinson and a River loss. The other playoff seeds are locked in: No. 1 Ridgefield, No. 2 Hockinson and No. 3 Mark Morris. Ridgefield can end Hockinson’s seven-year run as league champion with a win over Woodland, or a Hockinson loss to Washougal. Otherwise, Ridgefield and Hockinson will be co-champions. Ridgefield and Hockinson will host Week 10 playoffs, while Mark Morris and the No. 4 seed will travel.
1A Trico League
Teams in the mix (league records): La Center (3-0), Castle Rock (3-0), Seton Catholic (1-2), Columbia-White Salmon (1-3), Fort Vancouver (0-3).
Playoff spots/clinched: 3/2 (La Center, Castle Rock).
League games this week: La Center at Castle Rock (Fri.), Fort Vancouver at Seton Catholic (Sat.).
Scenarios: The winner of the La Center-Castle Rock game will be the league champion and No. 1 seed to the district playoffs, hosting a Week 10 game. The loser will be the No. 2 seed. Seton Catholic earns the No. 3 seed with a win over Fort Vancouver. If Fort wins, there will be a three-way tie for third between Seton, Fort and Columbia-White Salmon, which will require a tiebreaker. If that happens, things get very interesting because Eatonville, the No. 1 team from 1A Evergreen Conference, wants to play next Thursday, the only day the Cruisers could find an available turf field.