I attempted to break down the high school football playoff picture last week by using the Division 4 power ratings.
Unfortunately, I didn’t use all of the criteria the MIAA uses to select playoff teams. My apologies. I’ll give it another try this week.
The first — and most important — criteria for earning a playoff berth is a team’s league standing at the end of the season. In Cape Ann League Division 1 and Division 2, a team must finish first or second in its particular division to earn an automatic berth to the playoffs. So, four teams from the entire Cape Ann League will earn automatic berths to the postseason.
Division 4 includes a collection of teams from CAL Division 1, CAL Division 2, Middlesex Conference Freedom, Dual County League Small, Northeastern Conference South, Northeastern Conference North and the Catholic Central Large.
Since each of those conferences include five or more teams, if any team in Division 4 places in the top two in its respective division, it receives an automatic berth in the playoffs.
If the season ended today, automatic berths would go to Pentucket (4-0, 3-0) and Lynnfield (5-0, 3-0). The Sachems are the top team in CAL Division 1, and Lynnfield is the top team in CAL Division 2.
Newburyport (3-2, 2-1) is tied for second with Masconomet (3-2, 2-1) in CAL Division 1, so the Clippers will need to win the battle of second-place teams tonight to help secure an automatic berth in the playoffs. Even though Masconomet is not in Division 4, Newburyport will need to finish ahead of the Chieftains in the CAL Division 1 standings to earn the automatic berth.
In CAL Division 2, Amesbury (2-3, 2-1) and Hamilton-Wenham (2-3, 2-1) sit in a tie for second, although the Indians have already defeated the Generals. So, if Lynnfield beats Hamilton-Wenham tomorrow — as is expected — and Amesbury wins its next two games, the Indians will receive an automatic berth.