Written by 1:59 pm Uncategorized

Virginia realignment could shake up high school football playoffs

“I’ve always enjoyed playing other teams because seeing new blood and new teams kind of shows you where you stand,” Pierce said. “We know some might say, ‘Oh, that’s a Division 4 team,’ and they might take us for granted, but we embrace those challenges and the preparation.”

Beginning this fall, Briar Woods will play against bigger schools and competition on a more regular basis. Football season marks the start of the VHSL’s new classification system — a six-class model across all sports that replaces the three-tiered format previously used for its 315 member schools.

Briar Woods will join the likes of Stone Bridge, Marshall and Jefferson in 5A, while teams such as Centreville, Lake Braddock and Westfieldthat make up the state’s 52 most-populated schools will compete in 6A.

In postseason play across sports, teams will compete in conference groupings rather than district playoffs and then in North-South divisions within each of the six classes, replacing the old regional playoff format. The one exception is football, in which the top 16 teams in each North and South division will qualify for the playoffs. Seedings and pairings will be based on power points unless the involved teams elect to play within a different format (this power was given to the divisions by the VHSL to cut down on travel during early-round playoff games). Ultimately, the North champion will play the South champion in the state final.

Teams formerly of the Northern Region are now part of the 6A North and 5A North classes. Some of the Prince William County teams (Forest Park, Gar-Field, Hylton and Woodbridge) are in the 6A South with the Richmond and Virginia Beach schools, while others (Battlefield, Osbourn, Osbourn Park, Patriot and Stonewall Jackson) are in the North.

Teams will continue to play their traditional district opponents during the regular season followed by a postseason tournament in which six state football champions will be crowned. That means schools formerly of AAA Division 5, such as Fairfax, Madison and Yorktown, will face an assortment of 5A and 6A North foes.

For instance, Madison, now a Class 6A school, opens the season against perennial AAA Division 6 contenders Oakton and Chantilly before entering play against its usual Liberty District rivals, including Stone Bridge of Class 5A and Langley of Class 6A. As in previous years, teams are awarded more power points for playing teams in larger classifications. Therefore, how Madison fares in non-district play may have a greater impact on its power rating (total points divided by games played) than on teams with full 6A schedules.

Visited 4 times, 1 visit(s) today