TWIR9: New playoff system in 3AA means (almost) everyone gets into the postseason

Welcome to the new “This Week in Region 9!”

Before the season began, sports writers and broadcasters gathered together at the first-ever Region 9 Media Day and after hearing the coaches and players, we all voted on how we thought Region 9 (or more accurately, the 3AA South Region) would finish in football this year. The final results were not real significant except that four teams — Dixie, Desert Hills, Pine View and Hurricane — all received first-place votes. In fact, the final tally had those four teams significantly ahead of the bottom three — Cedar, Payson and Snow Canyon. It was just a media poll, but the message was clear. No one believed that the bottom three had any chance of making it above fifth place.

region-9-footballSo, here we are, two weeks into the six week region schedule and already at least one team, the Cedar Redmen, has said that our logic was flawed. Cedar scored a big win last Friday at Hurricane in a game that had no touchdowns and a 6-0 final score. Cedar’s Jeff Rogers had a pair of field goals and that was it as the Redmen defense shut down Hurricane’s Wing-T. So the Tigers, who scored a region road win themselves the previous week at Payson, are the first of the predicted Big Four to suffer a loss to one of the bottom three.

So what does that mean? Well, in year’s past, it would’ve meant the difference between making the playoffs and missing out on the 3A postseason. But things are different now. Instead, we’re talking playoff seedings.

In the new 3AA, the state has scheduled a four-week playoff postseason. So, with 14 teams in the 3AA, a new playoff qualifying system was put in place. Simply put, six teams from each of the two 3AA regions will make the playoffs. The top two teams in each region will receive a bye for the first round (which is Nov. 1 this year). On that day, the third place teams will host the sixth-place teams and the fourth-place teams will host the fifth-place teams.

Then, on Nov. 8 the first-place teams will host the winners of the fourth-fifth games and the second-place teams will host the winners of the third-sixth games. The semifinals will be on Nov. 14-15 with the 3AA championship set for Nov. 22 at 6:30 p.m. The semis and finals will be at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.

It’s early, but if the playoffs started today, here’s where everyone would be:
First Round (Reg. Seed)
Tooele (North 6) at Pine View (South 3)
Uintah (N5) at Cedar (S4)
Hurricane (S5) at Bear River (N4)
Snow Canyon (S6) at Park City (N3)
Juan Diego (N1), Stansbury (N2), Desert Hills (S1) and Dixie (S2) would have first-round byes
Ben Lomond (N7) and Payson (S7) would miss the playoffs

Potential second-round games would put Pine View at Stansbury, Cedar at Juan Diego, Bear River at Desert Hills and Park City at Dixie. It’s worth pointing out that the teams down here traditionally do very well against the northern teams. It would not surprise me to have the southern teams sweep the first round, which would change the second round significantly. There’s no provision for re-seeding, so if the South Region teams did sweep, the second round would, instead, be Pine View at Stansbury, Cedar at Juan Diego, Snow Canyon at Dixie and Hurricane at Juan Diego. Just some food for thought. We’ll update every week here in “This Week in Region 9 Sports,” each week. Stay tuned.

region-9-volleyballIn volleyball, it’s starting to look like the defending-champion Desert Hills Thunder are really hitting their stride. DH has yet to lose a game in any of its five region matches. The Thunder (12-3 overall and 5-0 in region) swept through the region and dumped their next closest competitors (Snow Canyon and Hurricane) on the road fairly easily. Thunder coach Jill Swaney sounded an unintended, but ominous warning to the rest of the state, “I think we’re a little better than we were last year.” DH is off tonight and plays at Cedar Thursday night to close out the first half of region.

The Warriors and Tigers, both 3-1 in region, square off tonight in H-Town for a claim on second place in the region. Everyone else has losing region records. Tonight, Dixie (2-3) is at Canyon View (1-3) and Pine View (0-4) is at Cedar (1-3).

region-9-soccer-girlsMeanwhile, in girls soccer Dixie has been unstoppable and has nearly stonewalled every opponent in region. The Lady Flyers, with goalkeeper Elizabeth Empey, have allowed just three goals in seven region games. Dixie, 8-2-1 overall, has a nine-game unbeaten streak going and has allowed just a single goal in region in three games, with four other games being shutouts. Cedar and Pine View each scored a goal (both in 2-1 Dixie wins) and Desert Hills got one in the net in a 4-1 Dixie rout.

The Flyers lead the region with 21 points, but Cedar is keeping pace just a step behind with a 6-1-0 record and 18 points. Snow Canyon (4-2-0) is third with 12 points, while Desert Hills (2-3-2) is fourth with 8 points. That would be the cutoff point for the playoffs if they started today. Still with hope are Pine View (2-4-1, 7 points), Canyon View (1-5-1, 4 points) and Hurricane (0-7-0, 0 points).

Tonight’s soccer action has Dixie at Snow Canyon (7:30 p.m.), Desert Hills at Hurricane (7:30 p.m.) and Canyon View at Cedar (4 p.m.).

Ed note: This Week in Region 9 is the new name for the popular Monday Rundown and will run each Tuesday during the prep sports seasons.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Cedar Fan! September 24, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Very interesting playoff breakdown Andy. Thanks for sharing. I had thought only the top four teams from each division would go to the playoffs. Didn’t realize there were going to be four rounds.

    Mike

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