Wolverines likely looking at road trip for playoff opener

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, November 3, 2016


A road trip to Surry Central may be Polk County’s first-round destination in the state 2A football playoffs.

Various media outlets attempting to predict the 2A bracket agree that the Wolverines may finish as the 7th seed in the 2A West subregion. That could earn Polk County a trip to Surry Central, whom most predict will be the second seed in the Midwest subregion.

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This fall will mark the first test of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s new seeding and bracketing process for the playoffs. The short version of that process for 2A schools:

1) All conference champions, as well as those who tie for a conference title, automatically qualify for the playoffs.

2) All remaining teams are ranked by won-loss record using their best 10 games (a 6-5 team would be considered a 6-4 team, for example). Any ties are broken by a) head-to-head record, b) 11-game record; c) conference winning percentage; d) draw. This produces a field of 64 2A teams.

3) Those 64 teams are then divided into two groups of 32 teams based on enrollment. The 32 largest schools will be in the 2AA bracket while the smaller 32 comprise the 2A bracket.

4) Divide each bracket into four subregions of eight teams – West, Midwest, Mideast and East – based on longitude.

5) In each subregion, seed the eight teams from 1-8. Conference champions are seeded first. All remaining teams are then seeded. Ties for seeding are broken by a) head-to-head record; b) 11-game record; c) MaxPreps ranking.

6) Set the matchups. The No. 1 team in the West will play the No. 8 team in the Midwwest, No. 2 West plays No. 7 Midwest and so on.

The NCHSAA has yet to release the enrollment numbers that will be used to rank teams in this year’s playoffs, so all projections are based on best guesses for enrollment.

In the 2A West bracket, in which Polk County will compete, four conference champions are projected by most to be included – Shelby, Lincolntonn Brevard and Hendersonville. The remaining four teams are projected by most to be Mountain Heritage, West Wilkes, Polk County and Madison.

In that scenario, the four conference champions would earn home games while the four away teams – including a Mountain Heritage team that could be 10-1 – would be on the road.

Both HighSchoolOT.com and SimmonsRatings.com project Polk County as the seventh seed in the West. CarolinaVarsity.com has Polk County as the eighth seed, but has Madison’s record incorrect. A correct record would also have Polk County as the seventh seed. A win over Hendersonville on Friday likely won’t improve Polk County’s seeding.

One possible wrinkle could occur if Chase beats East Rutherford on Friday. That would make the Trojans’ 10-game record 5-5, and that could put them in the 2A West bracket, depending upon enrollment. Were that to happen, Polk County would likely become the sixth seed, possibly traveling to North Rowan.

While many teams in the western half of the state will conclude their seasons this week, most teams in the eastern portion of the state still have one game remaining due to postponements earlier this season in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. The state playoffs are not scheduled to begin until Nov. 18.

– article submitted by PolkSports.com