The playoffs are a different time.

Everyone starts over. What you did in the regular season only matters for who you play first. It still takes three victories to win a state championship — the last three.

That sort of freedom can be incredibly freeing. Just ask Cheyenne East.

Just two weeks ago, the Thunderbirds journeyed to Evanston and lost 42-0. Faced with the prospect of seeing the Red Devils again in the playoffs, East wasn’t bothered by that score.

Instead, the T-Birds simply instigated a 52-point reversal.

The Thunderbirds’ 30-20 victory over the Red Devils was a seismic blow to the 4A hierarchy. Remember, East is not that far removed from a five-game losing streak and was part of a tense battle simply to make the playoffs up until the last week of the season.

That’s all forgotten now. The Thunderbirds simply ran at the Red Devils and Evanston couldn’t do much about it. Now, East has earned another trip — this one to Sheridan for the semifinals.

East’s big victory was pretty much the only true “upset” in any of the five brackets on Friday. Two other road teams — Lingle and Riverton — earned victories, but neither one of those teams came into the weekend as a true underdog.

A seasoned Lingle team made the long trip to Dubois and overcame some early jitters to beat the Cinderella Rams, while Riverton avenged an ealier 13-10 loss to Powell, getting exactly the same offensive effort but a little more out of the defense in a 10-7 victory.

The rest of the brackets went according to form. The home teams won every game in the 2A and the 1A six-man brackets. Only two of those games — Sheridan’s 10-3 victory over Kelly Walsh and Southeast’s 15-14 victory over Rocky Mountain — were decided by seven or fewer points.

The brevity of this post is in part because there were so few surprises in this first round. And, in part, because there were so few close games. So, my question: Is few surprises a surprise to you? Post a comment below and we’ll chat about it….

This week: 19-1 (95 percent). This season: 228-52 (81 percent).

4 Thoughts on “Quarterfinal Humble Pie: Super-surprise me

  1. Hey Patrick,

    After watching class 4A high school football this season, I have to say that the WHSAA rules book is sorely in need of a rewrite. Coin-tosses IN ANY FORM should be eliminated from the rule book. Let me explain:

    First, 4A came within a single game of a four-way tie for the final playoff spot. A tie for which there was no rule in place to determine the final two playoff spots. Only in the final week of the regular season did the WHSAA announce that a convoluted coin-toss (performed on a golf course no less) would be used to break such a tie. Ties should be settled on the football field and from the statistics generated from the games played, not the luck of a “heads/tails” call at the Douglas Golf Club. In fairness, the WHSAA did add head-to-head results among the final four teams as a tie-break but what if there was a tie after that as well?

    Secondly, the “bracket” used when the playoff seeds are determined is a joke. The bracket negates the advantage the higher seed worked so hard to obtain during the regular season. Natrona (#1 seed) faces Gillette (#4 seed) this upcoming weekend, while Sheridan (#2 seed) plays East (#6 seed). This makes no sense.

    I can see the logic in something like the NCAA basketball tournament where there are 64 or more teams participating. Breaking those teams into four, 16-team brackets makes sense. However, it makes absolutely no sense when EIGHT teams are involved. The highest seed should play the lowest seed regardless of the round played. Logic says that NC should be playing East this next Saturday (1 vs 6) and Sheridan should be playing Gillette (2 vs 4). Again, Sheridan basically won the “luck of the toss” with East’s upset victory over Evanston. The bracket system turns out to be another coin-toss in disguise. Natrona’s #1 seed -earned during the regular season- is now worthless.

    Football is supposed to be played on football fields not coin-tosses on golf courses or reactionary rules on the fly. The wins, losses and statistics generated from said such games should be the determining factors used to crown a state champion. How about points allowed, yardage allowed, and other defensive game statistics being used as additional tie breaks? (I don’t advocate offensive stats because some teams would run up the score). And how about using the regular-season rankings to determine playoff match-ups in ALL rounds?

    Hopefully, the WHSAA, coaches and administrators work this off-season to eliminate coin-tosses in any form from the current rules book.

  2. Patrick on October 31, 2010 at 12:22 pm said:

    Chuck,

    I agree with you on the point of coin flips. I would rather play in a tri- or quad-way playoff than have it come down to coin flips. As someone who played in one of those triangular playoffs, I can say I at least appreciated the chance to settle it on the field (even though we lost). A four-way tie should be pretty easy to settle with head-to-head record among the four teams; a three-way tie, if not broken any other way, should go to an on-the-field playoff. However, it is important to note here that the coin flip was NOT used this season. In fact, I’ve never heard of it being used before. It’s so far down on the contingency list that it has rarely even come up in the discussion, and although it was talked about this year because of the 4A mess entering week 8, it still wasn’t used.

    I disagree with your second point on reseeding after the quarterfinals. I see your logic and I don’t necessarily disagree with it, but I think the playoff bracket should be just that, a bracket. Natrona’s No. 1 seed is not now all of a sudden “worthless,” as you say. The No. 1 seed guaranteed two things: two home games (provided you win in the first round) and a guarantee that the highest-seeded team you will play in either game is the No. 4 seed. Not only that, NC got to play the lowest seeded playoff team in the first round. There’s value there. By reseeding after the quarterfinals, it’s sort of like penalizing a lower-seeded team that wins; you’re trying to make it as tough as possible for them to make it to the state championship game (or, conversely, trying to make it as easy as possible for the top seed to make it to the title game). I don’t think that’s what playoffs should be designed to do; I think playoffs should earn you a spot, then you play with the spot you earn, not with the spot that’s reorganized after the first round. But that’s a philosophical difference that you and I have. Your way has been brought up before and discussed and I do think there is some value in discussing a reseeding system. Making a change like that would probably bring about some heated emotions, but none from me; I think both systems have their positive elements and right now I like what the WHSAA is doing now better than the alternative.

    I think this might be the first time I’ve typed up a comment that’s longer than a post…. :)

    –patrick

  3. Patrick, I would like to say that the blog you have organized and faithfully maintained here is terrific. I can speak on behalf of the the Big Horn community when I say that your blog is read periodically by both players and parents. Also, the Big Horn players were excited to have you at their game. Thanks for the great site!

    And Chuck,
    Evanston came in as the # 3 seed, hence better (statistically/according to ranks) than Gillette. Cheyenne East beat Evanston who (again ranks and stats) is better than Gilette. Logic follows that East is better than Gillette. One might say to look at the regular season match up between the teams, however, one might have said the same thing about East and Evanston (what a turnaround). Obviously, East is playing better ball right now than they were in the regular season and than there 6 seed shows, so Sheridan doesn’t neccesarily have an easier path.

  4. Patrick on October 31, 2010 at 6:52 pm said:

    BHFB, thanks for the kind words. I loved having the chance to come watch the Rams and the Punchers play. Living in Laramie makes it darn near impossible for me to actually go watch a 2A game but I’m glad I got the chance this week. The Rams made the trip worth it!

    –patrick

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