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Fumble: Class B Central's East isn't a Class B team (that makes sense, huh?) (UPDATED Oct. 6)

I fumbled in today's football story, although I'd like to think I got a little help from Section VI.

East is a Class A school playing down in the Class B Central (at the school's request) so the Panthers are ineligible for the Class B playoffs.

(I'm assuming they are out of the playoffs altogether, and yes, I know what happens when you assume. I have an email into Section VI about it).

When looking at the standings, it would appear that Cheektowaga (thanks to a loss to East) would be on the brink of not making the playoffs. That's because Section VI's Class B playoff format has the top two teams in each of the three divisions moving on along with the two best third-place teams. The B Central has Depew, Burgard, then East and Cheektowaga. But the Warriors appear safe and could even snare the No. 2 seed in the Central if it wins its next two games (including a finale against Burgard at Riverside).

In researching my story I went to the Section VI football handbook to check on the Class B tiebreaker. I did not notice the very fine print on the teams page which says East is a Class A school, but -- unless I missed it -- nowhere does it say that East is not eligible for the playoffs.

I'm trying to figure out why this would be allowed to happen -- maybe the scheduling worked out better overall? I can't think of any other examples of teams playing down in class and not being eligible for sectional playoffs. Obviously, it messes with everyone's perception of what is happening in a particular league and corrupts the regular season. 

So Class B Central teams have league games, nonleague games, and league games against East that don't really count? That makes sense.

Ultimately the mistake in the story today it is my fault. My apologies about any confusion and for Cheektowaga coach Scott Zipp having his email box fill up this morning due to the story.

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Another angle on this: So if East is a Class A school, that makes them a large school. So much for voting on East in the small school poll, which I won't be doing anymore.

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UPDATE (Oct. 6): Section VI football chairman Ken Stoldt returned my email, apologized for the confusion and set some things straight.

East is not eligible for the postseason in any classification. East will appear at the bottom of the Class B Central standings no matter what happens. The league games between Central teams and East count in the standings so that all B teams have six league games (making clearer to determine those last two B playoff spots -- the two-best third-place teams from the B North, Central and South divisions (which all have seven teams and six league games).

And a few final thoughts from me: Who ends up the loser in this situation? The players at East! The whole reason the Buffalo Public Schools moved into Section VI is to participate in the sectional (and state) playoffs, and the district and/or East decided to move the Panthers into the section without any possibility of the postseason. The players obviously put together a great season, but there's no reward.

I just hope that the East players knew this situation from the start of the year (unlike the media :-) ), because I sure wouldn't be an East player hearing about how city teams are going to the playoffs this season, and rightfully enjoying wins like that over a team like Cheektowaga, and then learning that there were never any playoffs to even qualify for. 

There shouldn't be any playoffs for them, of course, because they are an A school and have played a B schedule. This was just a bad move by the city while Section VI should have been clearer letting everyone know what the deal was.

Finally: Since East is a large school, it is no longer eligible for the small school poll.

---Keith McShea


Cheektowaga | East High | High school football
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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

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