First Look: 8-Man Playoffs


As we hit the final week of the 8-man season the playoff scenarios are still well in doubt. We have plenty of districts locked up and many teams have secured wild card spots, but where every goes is still unclear. We’ll try to give a little insight — though it sure doesn’t seem like much — below.

Remember the format is slightly different, than years past, but not the opening round. For the second year, the NSAA will determine 32 teams who qualify and then split east-west and seed 1-16. Rather than staying in those geographic regions after the opening round, the 16 winners will be re-seeded regardless of geography.

We’ll have the breaking matchups live on Saturday morning with our NSAA 8-Man Playoff Show on Striv Sports. 

Class D-1

District champions clinched: Weeping Water (1), Lourdes Central Catholic (2), Howells-Dodge (5), Neligh-Oakdale (7), Burwell (8), Arapahoe (9), Sutherland (11).

District 3: three-way tie if Tri-County (vs. Thayer Central) and EMF (vs. Southern) win with Heartland, which has non-district game with Ravenna.

District 4: Cross County with win over Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family. If HLHF wins would be three-way tie with Nebraska Christian.

District 6: Laurel-Concord-Coleridge v Lutheran High Northeast winner.

District 10: Hi-Line with win over Hitchcock County. Should Hitchcock County win moves to three-way tiebreaker if DCS defeats Cambridge.

Home Cookin’: We feel comfortable projecting home games in the opening round for Burwell, Arapahoe, Dundy County-Stratton, Howells-Dodge, Cross County, Stanton, Neligh-Oakdale and Weeping Water.

Magic Wild Card: Right now, the number for the playoffs appears to be right around a 38.75 to 39 point average, which could be exactly why the 8-man coaches need to evaluate the point system. No. 30 Perkins County (5-2, 39.429) is just fractionally ahead of No. 31, Shelby-Rising City (1-6, 39.00). Should there be a bit more reward for winning?

The Map: This is where is seems to get most interesting in Class D-1. Four teams — for two spots — will likely sway the dividing line. Four teams at 38.8571 are Freeman, Wisner-Pilger, Bayard and Amherst. These four could split, could both go east or could be two out west depending on outcomes.

Add in North Central and Hartington-Newcastle as the next two teams fighting for a spot and you have another east, west split. Right now, it appears the teams could go either way could be Heartland, Nebraska Christian and Neligh-Oakdale. One particular game with impact is Sutherland (already a district champ) at Bayard for one of the final spots.

Class D-2

District champions clinched: Falls City Sacred Heart (1), Humphrey St. Francis (5), Kenesaw (7), Medicine Valley (8), Mullen (10).

District 2: Pender with win over Homer. A Homer win and Allen win would create 3-way tie.

District 3: Wynot v Winside winner.

District 4: Bloomfield with win over Creighton. A Creighton win and St. Mary’s win would create 3-way tie.

District 6: Osceola with win over High Plains. A High Plains win and Fullerton win would create 3-way tie.

District 9: Sandhills/Thedford with win over Pleasanton. A Pleasanton win and Ansley/Litchfield would create a 3-way tie.

Magic Wild Card: The number is just slightly lower in Class D-2 — we’ll guess that 38.5 – 38.75 — could be the end of getting into the qualifying round. Loomis, Emerson-Hubbard and Homer (38.4286) tied for 30th-32nd right now.

Home Cookin’: We feel comfortable projecting home games for Humphrey St. Francis, Sandhills/Thedford, Pender, Riverside, Kenesaw, Mullen, Bloomfield, Falls City Sacred Heart, Garden County and Osceola.

The Map: Depending on how the bottom shakes out with Sandhills Valley, Axtell, Twin Loup and Allen battling for the final spots it appears the dividing line could be with Creighton, Elgin Public/Pope John, Fullerton and Lawrence-Nelson. In the current standings, EPPJ and L-N would move west.

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