EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

October 24, 2013

Calculating postseason possibilities

Final exam to decide playoff fate for area high school football teams

All around the state of Massachusetts, football coaches have found their latest coaching vessel, the calculator.

Heads will be spinning this weekend as playoff spots for the MIAA’s new playoff system are decided upon.

The simple rule is that if you finish first or second in your league, you are in. That could be altered — if too many teams gain automatic bids in a certain sectional — but it will be rare, especially up here in the North.

After the automatic bids are picked, the remaining at-large spots will be decided for each section.

A handful of area teams have done the hard work already and locked down their spots. Others are out already.

Many lie in the middle of the pack and are thinking one thing this weekend.

“Win and we are in,” said Andover High coach E.J. Perry, whose club can qualify with a seed as high as No. 4 in Division 1 North with a win over Lowell tomorrow night. “I don’t even want to really think about what happens with a loss. We can make it, but a lot of things would have to fall right for us. Winning takes care of not having to worry.”

Here’s a look at all the Mass. teams and where they stand as the final week of the regular season approaches:

PLAYOFF LOCKS

Division 1

Central Catholic: They’ve racked up plenty of points. More importantly, Tonight’s home date with Chelmsford could lock down a league title with a Raider victory.

Division 2

Haverhill: The 4-2 start has the Hillies looking at a home playoff opener. The battle with the Knights tomorrow night is for an automatic bid, but Haverhill coach Tim O’Connor says the Hillies have done enough to down the at-large if necessary.

North Andover: Only 3-3 with the Hillies left Friday night. Right now, they are the six seed. It’s all academic, since the No. 9 seed is 2-4 Newton North.

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