THE POINT AFTER – Hey, guess what?
We’re headed to the final week of the Section II football regular season, and once again, Class A is where all the action is.
OK, not all the action. Obviously, with Class C using an eight-team playoff format, as opposed to the four-team format used in the other four classifications, there are four very, very important Class C games this coming weekend, but let’s leave those aside.
When it comes to determining how the playoffs will take shape, Class A — Section II’s regular home for football chaos — is where it’s at in Week 8.
Class B and Class D? Those playoffs are completely decided already.
Sure, there’s still a full slate of regular-season games this weekend as teams play out the string, but those playoffs are locked in as No. 4 Lansingburgh is at No. 1 Glens Falls and No. 3 Gloversville is at No. 2 Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk the following weekend.
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It’s the same story in Class D. Teams in that classification will play crossovers against eliminated Class C teams this week, which won’t affect our already established playoff matchups of No. 4 Canajoharie/Fort Plain at No. 1 Cambridge/Salem and No. 3 Greenwich at No. 2 Chatham.
And, yes, there’s still technically a chance one or two things could change in Class AA if we get some truly unexpected results — though Christian Brothers Academy is locked into the No. 1 seed and Shenendehowa is safe at No. 2 — but it’s going to take multiple upsets that all seem extraordinarily unlikely to bring the three-way tie between Shaker, Guilderland and Saratoga Springs to fruition.
So, that leaves us with Class A. Funny, fickle Class A, which always seems to bring us some delightful insanity as the season comes to a close.
Actually, there are two cases where things are pretty well cut-and-dry.
The first is in the Capital Division, where Averill Park wrapped up the division title Friday night when Charles Ratigan’s overtime touchdown gave the Warriors a 27-21 win over La Salle Institute. Regardless of how results bear out in Week 8, Averill Park is locked into the top seed from its division and will host the Grasso Division runner-up in the semifinals.
And, thanks to how things played out in the Grasso Division in Week 7, there’s only two possible outcomes for that division in Week 8.
It’ll be the biggest regular-season game of the week as Niskayuna visits Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake. Both teams are already playoff-bound, something that was assured on Friday night when Niskayuna beat South Glens Falls and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake beat Ballston Spa. The latter result eliminated the Scotties from playoff contention.
So, very simply, the Nisakyuna/Burnt Hills winner takes the division title and gets a home semifinal game, the loser gets second place and visits Averill Park the next week.
Nice and easy, right?
Well, let’s finish up with that second Capital Division playoff spot, which — as it was last year — could once again be a doozy.
Had Amsterdam completed its comeback in the final seconds of regulation against Troy on Friday, it would’ve set up the Rugged Rams to face La Salle in a game that would’ve guaranteed the winner a playoff spot. Instead, Troy held on for the 30-28 win, so we’ve got three potential scenarios at play.
Scenario The First: La Salle beats Amsterdam. This one’s the easiest. A Cadets win gets them into the playoffs, no matter what happens elsewhere in the division.
Scenario The Second: Amsterdam beats La Salle, Columbia beats Troy. This is the most direct path for Amsterdam to get into the playoffs. It would leave the Rams and Cadets with identical 3-2 division records, and Amsterdam would win the head-to-head tiebreaker. And, while Columbia may already be eliminated, the Blue Devils are scrappy, having played one-possession games against Amsterdam, La Salle and Averill Park.
Scenario The Third: Amsterdam beats La Salle, Troy beats Columbia. Hoo boy, here we go. This would give us the dreaded three-way tie between Amsterdam, Troy and La Salle at 3-2, having all gone 1-1 against each other, which means the dreaded quarter points tiebreaker returns. The team with the fewest quarter points is eliminated, with the head-to-head result between the remaining two deciding who advances to the playoffs.
It’s the exact same scenario that the Capital Division found itself in a year ago, when Amsterdam — stinging off an overtime loss to La Salle — was the team left on the outside looking in of a three-way tie for first.
So, buckle up, because there’s one more wild week to go before everyone enters “win or go home” mode.
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