COLUMBIA — The new playoff system for high school football in Missouri, announced in 2011 and put in place in 2012, now has a year under its belt.
In the system, each district holds a tournament where all teams within that district compete. Teams are seeded 1 to 8 based on a calculation of points that factors in wins and losses, strength of schedule, playing up/down a class and point differential of the games. The higher seed in each matchup hosts the game.
Jefferson City (5-3) vs. Rock Bridge (4-4)
WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: Rock Bridge High School, Rock Bridge Field
Rock Bridge (Class 6, District 3) coach A.J. Ofodile praised the system for being a little more balanced than the previous method. The prior format in Class 6's case played a round-robin tournament between the top four teams in each district.
Ofodile said there were things he liked about the previous system, but it sometimes snubbed teams out of the playoffs that might have deserved a spot.
"The (new) system is good," Ofodile said. "Use your schedule, factor in strength of schedule, give points for wins, give points for losses, give nothing for not playing. I get all that."
With the new system, teams are given 20 points for a win, 10 points for a loss, and zero points for having a bye week. Teams are also given 10 points for playing a team in a higher class.
The system adds a varied amount of points based on the opponent's record (the better the opponent's record, the more points the winner gets) and the point differential of each game, not to exceed a 13-point difference. Visit the Missouri State High School Activities Association's website to read more about how the points are calculated and how playoff times and dates are determined.
Right now, Rock Bridge is ranked sixth of eight teams in District 3 with its only remaining game Friday against district foe Jefferson City. The No. 1 and No. 8 seeds are already locked up, but Rock Bridge still has several possibilities of who and where they could be playing in the first round of the district tournament.
Ofodile admitted he sometimes makes his own calculations to see how the seeding will turn out.
"I've got it down to a few scenarios," Ofodile said, smiling. "So I'm going to crunch the numbers tonight and plug in all the scenarios."
With Jefferson City sitting only one game ahead of Rock Bridge, there is a possibility that the two teams could face off again next week regardless of Friday's results. Either way, there is pressure because no one knows what team they will be facing next week.
"The biggest issue is having absolutely no clue who you're going to play and where you're going to play in that first (game)," Ofodile said. "You've just got to let everything shake out."
Although Ofodile is somewhat of a "scoreboard watcher," he still tries to give his team a "do your job" mentality. After losing three straight games including a heartbreaking one-point loss to Liberty last week, the coach would love to get the win Friday and go into districts with some momentum.
"The bigger thing for us is just building off that second half in Liberty ... keeping ourselves on track, having some fun when we play and playing with some emotion and enthusiasm like we did in the second half," Ofodile said. "If we do that, I think we'll be fine."
Supervising editor is Erik Hall.