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Breaking down Section VI football playoff picture heading into Week Seven finales

By Keith McShea

Just a warning: This stuff can get pretty intense. :-)

But that's what happens when you're dealing with what-ifs which lead to what-ifs which lead to what-ifs which lead to a coin flip: The tiebreaker system for Section VI football. But don't worry, it doesn't look like any coin flips will be necessary.

Thanks to some exhaustive work by Section VI, including the division chairman and especially chairman Ken Stoldt, we have a pretty clear playoff picture heading into Week Seven, the final week of the Section VI regular season.

In each class, we have provided the standings, with the all-important asterisk for teams who have clinched a playoff spot. If a team's seed has been determined, we've listed it. Then we've got what the playoff schedule grid looks like right now, with either/ors.

Reminder that the first tiebreaker is head-to-head, then it is point differential (the highest point differential a team can receive for a game is +20). 

Here we go.

CLASS AA

**1-Jamestown (5-0); *2-Frontier (5-1); *3-Orchard Park (4-1); *4-Kenmore West (4-2); *5-Lancaster (3-3); Niagara Falls (1-4); *Clarence (1-4); Lockport (1-4); West Seneca West (0-5).

Week Eight (Oct. 25-26) quarterfinals

8-NF or Clar or Lock or WSW at 1-Jamestown
7-NF or Clar or Lock at 2-Frontier
6-NF or Clar at 3-Orchard Park
5-Lancaster at 4-Kenmore West

The breakdown of the AA seedings from Section VI:

The first five spots should be set. Jamestown will be No. 1. If they win, they are undefeated. Even if they lose, it creates a three way tie at 5-1 with Frontier and OP. They did not all play so head to head is out (Frontier did not play OP, so PD from Jamestown/OP game will not matter).

You go to point differential vs. common opponents, which favors Jamestown.

Then between OP and Frontier you would revert back to head to head but they did not play so you are back to PD v.s common opponents which favors Frontier.

See below for common opponents:

Jamestown    OP       Frontier
NF +20       NF +20     NF +18
Lan +20     Lan +7     Lan +20
WSW +20  WSW +18 WSW +20
Clar +20     Clar +6    Clar +20
+80             +51           +78

When deciding point differential between OP and Frontier, keep the above totals and add Lockport.

OP was -6 vs Lockport; Frontier was +20; so Frontier will have the No. 2 seed.

If OP loses it ties Kenmore West at 4-2. They did not play so PD comes in again.

OP                KW
Wsw +18    WSW +11
Lock -6       Lock +20
Clar +6        Clar +2
Lan +7        Lan -15
James TBD James -20
+25                 -2

Even with a 20-point loss, OP is still +5 so OP gets the No. 3 spot. Ken West gets No. 4, Lancaster gets No. 5.

Nos. 6, 7 and 8 are up for grabs from among Clarence, Niagara Falls, Lockport and West Seneca West.

The winner of NF/Clarence will get the No. 6 spot.

WSW needs to beat Lockport for a chance.

If Lockport wins, they would get No. 7 and the loser of Clarence/NF would get No. 8 -- all based on head to head.

If Lockport loses, the Clarence/NF winner still gets No. 6.

To determine Nos. 7 and 8, you will have a three-way tie between Lockport, WSW, and either Clarence or Niagara Falls.

WSW did not play either Clarence or NF, so we are again looking at point differential vs. common opponents.

If the tie is between Lockport, Niagara Falls and West Seneca West, there are only two common opponents:

Lock       WSW        NF
OP +6     OP -18     OP -20
Fron -20 Fron -20 Fron -18
-14          -38         -38

Thus, Lockport would get No. 7. NF and WSW did not play, so it would go to point differential vs. these teams.

         WSW  NF
OP       -18 -20
Fron     -20 -18
James  -20 -20
Lan      -20 -17
Lock     TBD +6
          -78 -69

WSW would need to beat Lockport by 10 to get No. 8 over Niagara Falls. If not, NF gets No. 8.

If Niagara Falls beats Clarence, Falls is No. 6 and the three teams tied are Lockport, WSW, and Clarence. There are three teams in common:

Lock     WSW      Clarence
OP +6     OP -18    OP -6
Fron -20 Fron -20  Fron -20
KW -20   KW -11    KW -2
-34         -49          -28

Clarence would get No. 7 and WSW would get No. 8 based on head-to-head vs Lockport.

* * *

CLASS A

A North

**1N-Sweet Home (4-0); *2N-Grand Island (4-1); *3N-Kenmore East (3-2); North Tonawanda (2-3); Starpoint (1-4); Niagara-Wheatfield (0-5).

A Central

**1C-McKinley (5-0); *2C-Williamsville South (4-1);  *3C-Williamsville North (3-2); Williamsville East (2-3); East (1-4); Riverside (0-5).  

A South

**1S-South Park (5-0); *2S-West Seneca East (3-1); Hamburg (2-3); Lake Shore (2-3); Iroquois (1-4); Hutch Tech (1-3).

Week Eight (Oct. 25-26) quarterfinals

8-Kenmore East at 1-Sweet Home
7-Williamsville North at 2-South Park
6-WSE or GI at 3-McKinley
5-WSE or GI at 4-Williamsville South

The breakdown of the AA seedings from Section VI:

The field is almost totally set because the only league game remaining in all of Class A is Hutch-Tech at West Seneca East on Friday.

In Class A, the three division winners get the first three seeds; the three second-place teams are slotted in seeds four through six, and the two best third-place teams earn Nos. 7 and 8. Teams are slotted by league record first, then league point differential (all three divisions played the same number of games).

Point differential decided the top three seeds: Sweet Home (+92), South Park (+65), McKinley (+51).

For seeds four through six, Grand Island and Will South each have clinched second place with 4-1 records, while West Seneca East has clinched second in the South with a 3-1 record despite its game against Hutch-Tech Friday.

Williamsville South is No. 4 because its point differential of +62 can't be caught by West Seneca East (+23) even with a 20-point win.

WSE's game Friday will impact where it is seeded. A loss would put WSE sixth because of record.

A win would put WSE fifth and Grand Island sixth because Grand Island is finished at 4-1 with a +18 point differential. WSE already has a +23 point differential, so a win would only improve that.

If WSE loses, GI is No. 5 and WSE is No. 6.

Nos. 7 and 8 go to the top two third-place finishers. Will North and Ken East both have 3-2 records; so they get the two spots ahead of Hamburg (2-3). Point differential (+38 to +23) puts Williamsville North at No. 7 and Kenmore East at No. 8.

* * * 

CLASS B

The top four make the playoffs in each division. The top two teams in the North and South host quarterfinals against the third- and fourth-place teams from the other division.

Week Eight (Oct. 25-26) quarterfinals

4S-Eden or Spr or EA or Olean at 1N-Cheektowaga
3N-Ben or Alb at 2S-Depew
3S-Pioneer at 2N-Burgard
4N-Ben or Alb or Med at 1S-Alden

B North

*1-Cheektowaga (5-0); *2-Burgard (5-1); Bennett (3-2); Albion (3-2); Lew-Port (2-3); Medina (2-3); Amherst (2-3); Maryvale (1-4); Barker/Roy-Hart (0-5).

Week Seven B North games
Lew-Port at Amherst, 6 p.m. Friday
Medina at Albion, 7:30 p.m. Friday 
Bennett at Barker/Roy-Hart, 1:30 p.m. Saturday 

The top two spots are set, the rest is up in the air. It is possible that four teams could finish at 3-3 with tiebreakers determining seeds Nos. 3 and 4.

Bennett wins and it is either third or fourth; it can clinch third with a nine-point win over Barker. That would give it a better point differential than Albion if both finish 4-2 (Bennett and Albion did not play this year). It appears that even if Bennett loses, it will prevail in tiebreakers due to big wins over Lew-Port, Medina and Amherst and its accompanying good point differential numbers.

Albion can secure fourth with a win over Medina.

The loser of Lew-Port/Amherst is out and it appears that even the winner, who would be 3-3, will lose out on various tiebreakers.

If Bennett wins, Medina beats Albion, and Lew-Port wins we would have Medina, Albion and Lew-Port all tied at 3-3. They would all have beaten each other, so it goes to point differential vs. common opponents. It would breakdown like this:

Albion         Medina         Lew-Port
Burgard-20   Burgard-20   Burgard-20
Lew-Port +8  Lew-Port -1  Medina +1
Medina TBD  Albion TBD    Albion -8
    -12              -21                -27

Medina needs to beat Albion by five points to win the tiebreaker in this scenario; otherwise, Albion wins the tiebreaker.

Things do not look good for Lew-Port. In a 3-3 tie with Medina and Albion, it loses by point differential as shown above. If Albion and Bennett win, those teams would be 4-2. If Albion wins and Bennett loses, Bennett beat Lew-Port head-to-head. If they end in a three-way tie with Bennett and Albion, Bennett would win point differential and Albion beat Lew-Port head-to-head.

If Medina beats Albion and Amherst wins to forge a three-way tie among these three teams at 3-3, Medina wins the tiebreaker because it would have beaten both Albion and Amherst.

If Bennett loses to create a four-way tie among these teams, Bennett would prevail on point differential to earn third. Then we would be left with the previous scenario for fourth.

B South

*1-Alden (5-0); *2-Depew (5-1); *3-Pioneer (4-1); Eden (2-3); Springville (2-3); East Aurora (2-3); Olean (1-4); Dunkirk (0-6).

Week Seven B South games
East Aurora at Alden, 7 p.m. Friday
Olean at Springville, 7:30 p.m. Friday
Pioneer at Eden, 2 p.m. Saturday

The top three are all secure; even with a loss, Alden beat both Depew and Pioneer head-to-head; Pioneer and Depew did not play -- Pioneer can't catch Depew on point differential.

Fourth place is up in the air.

If either EA, Springville or Eden win this week while the other two lose, the winner gets the No. 4 spot.

If Olean beats Springville and both Eden and EA lose, there would be a four-way tie. They did not all play each other, so the point differential vs. common opponents would be:

Olean             EA           Spring            Eden
Depew -20  Depew -20  Depew -15    Depew -20
Pioneer -3  Pioneer -3  Pioneer -20  Pioneer TBD
    -23            -23             -25                TBD

Unless Eden loses by two or fewer, you would have a two-way tie between EA and Olean. They did not play so the tiebreaker would be point differential between those two teams' common opponents; EA has and advantage there now but Olean could catch them with a big win/big loss swing (EA has -13, Olean has -38).

If Eden would happen to lose by three, the same procedure would hold true because Eden did not beat both Olean and East Aurora.

The next tiebreaker after point differential is points allowed vs. common opponents.

There are many, many scenarios that can happen, and we're going to wait until this weekend to sort them out.  

CLASS C

Like Class B, the top four make the playoffs in each division. The top two teams in the North and South host quarterfinals against the third- and fourth-place teams from the other division.

Week Eight (Oct. 25-26) quarterfinals

4S-Falc or S'w at 1N-Cleveland Hill
3N-Lackawanna at 2S-Salamanca
3S-Falc or S'w at 2N-Akron
4N-Tonawanda at 1S-Fredonia

C North

**1-Cleveland Hill (5-0); *2-Akron (4-1); *3-Lackawanna (3-2); *4-Tonawanda (3-3); JFK (1-4); Wilson (0-5); Newfane (0-0; 2-4 overall; B school playing in C division).

C South

**1-Fredonia (6-0); *2-Salamanca (4-1); *Southwestern (3-2); *Falconer (2-3); Allegany-Limestone (1-4); Silver Creek/Forestville (1-4); Gowanda (1-4).

Falconer at Southwestern (7 p.m. Friday) will determine third in C South. 

You've got to be kidding me? That's it? Whew! :-) 

[NOTE: It's NOT that easy! We should have known. Falconer is in good position to take the fourth spot, but if there are some upsets, A-L, Silver Creek and Gowanda could tie Falconer at 2-4, tiebreakers would come into play, and there are some scenarios, although extreme, in which Falconer would not prevail.]

CLASS D

All teams make the playoffs in Class D; only the Class D division's champion will continue in the state playoffs.

Class D division

*1-Randolph (3-0); *2-Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake (3-1); *3-Portville (2-1); *4-Ellicotville/West Valley (1-2); *5-Cassadaga Valley (0-4).

Portville is at Randolph Friday at 7 p.m.

Week Eight (Oct. 25-26) Class D quarterfinal
5-Cassadaga Valley at 4-Ellicottville/West Valley

Week Nine (Nov. 1-2) Class D semifinals
CV/E'villeWV at 1-Randolph
3-Portville at 2-Maple Grove

The top three teams will recieve byes in a division which went from six to five teams when Westfield/Brocton called off the rest of its season.

Class DD division

*Sherman (4-1); *Frewsburg (4-1); *Cattauragus/Little Valley (4-1); *Panama (4-1); Franklinville (1-4); Clymer (1-5); Pine Valley (0-5).

The top four teams make the playoffs. This week the top four square off to determine seeding. In Class DD, the semifinals will be in Week Eight (Oct. 25-26), with the winners taking a week off before playing for the DD title at The Ralph at 10 a.m. Sat. Nov. 9.

Week Seven Class DD games
Fresburg at Cattaraugus/Little Valley, 7 p.m. Friday
Panama at Sherman, 1:30 p.m. Saturday

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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.

@KeithMcSheaBN | kmcshea@buffnews.com

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