Is making the high school play-offs really a reward?

BUCKHANNON – Just another short rant from yours truly this week, but making the play-offs in high school football is supposed to be a reward, correct?

After this past week, I am not convinced of that anymore.

Several years ago, the WVSSAC adopted a 16-team play-off format for all three classifications.

I get why they did it. It allows more teams and players to experience the play-offs, it brings in more revenue (ding, ding, ding) and it gives more meaning to regular season games for many teams late in the season.

One needs to look no further than our Mighty Buccaneers this past season. Even at 2-5, they still had a legitimate shot at the play-offs. They won their last three and finished 18th in the state, just missing it by two spots.

Never mind that after the latest round of reclassification that 16 of the 29 AAA schools make the play-offs – that is for another column on another day.

But let’s just take a look at the 16-team format this year.

First off, none of the top four seeds in any class lost. In fact, of the 12 contests played by the top four seeds against the bottom for seeds, only one game was closer than 20 points. Just one and that was Midland Trail’s 14-2 win over Tucker County.

Let’s take a look at some scores from the top four seeds – Class AAA Spring Valley 77, Spring Mills 7; Capital 42, Morgantown 0; Class AA Bluefield 56, Oak Hill 7; Bridgeport 49, Frankfort 13; Class A Wheeling Central 61, Tyler Consolidated 30.

The lower seeds won four of the 24 play-off contests and two of those were No. 9 teams beating No. 8 teams.

There also wasn’t one game that was closer than six points throughout the weekend.

I guess my point is, was making the play-offs a reward for any of those teams above. I am sure the coaches would say yes, and the players down the road can say they made the play-offs. But is a 77-7 loss a reward? What about a 49-point loss? A 36-point loss? You get my drift.

Other than financial reasons, what point is there to a 6-4 No. 16 team taking on a 10-0 No. 1 team in any classification?

It will never happen but I think it’s time that WVSSAC take another look at their 16-team play-off model…or give me a better definition of what a reward really is.


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