VHSL Football Playoff Formats
Group 1A, 2A and 3A
Top 16 by power rating regardless of conference and cross bracket semifinals
Top 16 by power rating regardless of conference and semifinals will NOT cross bracket
5 A South: Top 8 from Central Conferences bracketed together; Top 8 from Eastern Conferences bracketed together, final teams from each bracket meet in state semifinal (will NOT cross bracket semifinals)
5A north: Top 16 by power rating regardless of conference and will NOT cross bracket semifinals
6 A South: Top 8 each section (Conference 1 & 2 – top 8; Conference 3 & 4 – top 8) with final 4 in region then reseeded and will NOT cross bracket in state semifinals
6A North: Top 16 by power rating regardless of conference and will NOT cross bracket semifinals
HCS NOTE: We have bolded the decisions where, in 5A South and 6A South, teams will earn playoffs in groups of eight via two conferences based on region, whereas the rest of the state allows the top 16 teams in each region regardless of location getting in based on VHSL rider points.
In other words, there is a GOOD chance that a team in Richmond (5A), or Hampton Roads (6A), may have more VHSL rider points than a team from another part of their "Region", but, because they are 9th best in their newly created "subregion", they are OUT of the playoffs.
We suspected this could happen, we've talked with noted football expert Rod Johnson of VirginiaPreps.com and he confirms the possibility is most definitely there, especially for Richmond schools in 5A and Hampton Roads schools in 6A (Richmond area only has four schools in 6A South).
If/when this happens, there should be an outrage of the highest order. It's one thing for the Central Region to bury its head in the sand and have short playoff schedules, meaning several 9-1 teams (like 5-7, not 1 or 2) in the past 15 years MISSED the playoffs, but it's another thing entirely for the governing body of high school sports in Virginia, the VHSL, to just allow, in October, these new "regions" to go off on their own and decide how to run the playoffs.
If Team A has more VHSL rider points than Team B in the 5A or 6A South Region, but because they are 9th in their newly formed "subregion" (the name we're giving it) they won't get into the playoffs, WHY even HAVE the rider point system to begin with??
We will anxiously await November 8th and 9th to arrive and hope that a team, or multiple teams, do not get shafted out of their earned postseason opportunity. You can bet that we'll breathe a sigh of relief if it doesn't happen, and we'll be among the loudest critics if it does.
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Lee Davis was a victim of the sub conferences. At least people knew about the playoff alignment prior to the start of the season, and weren't blindsided, however I agree that with the new conference structure, there is no reason why everyone shouldn't be playing by the same set of playoff rules!
The bigger issue which was luckily avoided is if Godwin would have lost there last regular season game, they would have lost the last playoff spot to a team with a lower record and a team they beat head to head in Lee Davis. Major flaw in the system, unfortunately I don't have an answer, other than common sense!
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