JAY DAVIS: A win will guarantee
Getting to the football postseason is all about the power point standings. Whether a team is 5-3, 4-4 or 3-5, it is their power points that determine if they get in and where they will play.
Even though they are one game under .500 at 3-4, the Tigers are in good shape in the power polls, as long as they take care of business in Chamberlain on Friday.
It’s a simple as this. Win and the Tigers are in the postseason. The team actually has a chance to play a ninth game even with a fifth loss, but I don’t think anyone wants to even examine those possibilities right now.
The Tigers have 46.286 power points and sit fourth in Class 11B Region 1. Aberdeen Roncalli is 7-0 with 55.429. Webster Area is 5-1 with 51.167. Deuel is 4-2 with 48.833. Groton Area is behind the Tigers in fifth with 3-4 and 44.0.
A tough schedule with a pair of Class A teams is doing quite a bit for the Tigers this year. Of the Tigers’ four losses, Aberdeen Roncalli, Webster Area and Winner are a combined 19-1. Add that to the extra points the Tigers earn for moving up a class to play Cheyenne-Eagle Butte and Chamberlain, and the Tigers have a very strong power point schedule this year.
I am not real good with figuring the math and looking into the crystal ball to see if the Tigers can move up in the standings, but I do know this: Deuel plays winless Sioux Falls Christian on Friday before hosting Groton Area next Thursday. Deuel is Groton’s only remaining game. If things fall just right, the Tigers could be a number three seed come playoff time.
But none of that is important right now. The only important thing is the Tigers finishing off the season with a win down in Chamberlain. The last three weeks have been a struggle for the Tigers. There have been losses of games and losses of players. A lot of the pain of the three-game losing streak will go away if the Tigers come out firing on Friday.
Here’s a synopsis of the area teams and their possible playoff futures.
The Cheyenne-Eagle Butte Braves are 4-2 and sitting third in Class A Region 3. The Braves will play in the postseason as only two Class A teams don’t make it. With 2-4 Pine Ridge and 0-6 Lead-Deadwood left to play, the Braves have a good shot at passing Chamberlain, moving up to number two and hosting a first-round game.
Herreid-Selby Area and Eureka-Bowdle are close to locking up playoff guarantees in Class 9A Region 1. The Wolverines lead the region with a 6-0 record and 60.167 points. The Patriots are third at 4-2 and 54.0. A Herreid-Selby Area win over Sully Buttes and a Eureka-Bowdle win over Miller should cement their respective postseasons before the two squads meet up for their annual rivalry game next Thursday.
Beating Miller would be a huge step for Eureka-Bowdle. This is a stacked region. Along with the Wolverines and Patriots, Warner is 6-0 and ranked second in state, Wolsey-Wessington is 5-1 and Wilmot is 5-2. The Patriots will feel a lot better about hosting the Wolverines in the regular season finale with a fifth win already under their belts.
Lemmon-McIntosh is a pretty solid three seed in Class 9AA Region 4. At 5-2, the Cowboys have 49.571 power points. They are where they need to be as they close out the regular season on Friday against undefeated and ranked first in state in Class 9B Harding County. White River is 7-0 and Potter County is 5-1, taking up the top spots in the region. Newell is fourth behind the Cowboys at 3-3. Lemmon-McIntosh is headed to the postseason.
Timber Lake, Dupree and McLaughlin-Wakpala are already looking to the future. Youthful Timber Lake is 2-5 with undefeated Leola-Frederick left to play. Dupree is 1-5, but does have two winnable games remaining with Bison and Rapid City Christian. It would be a remarkable run for a team with just 12 players on the roster. The McLaughlin-Wakpala co-op hasn’t had many highlights in its first year. This is the first year the kids from Wakpala have played varsity football so the learning curve is still pretty high. With a staunch Potter County left to play, the Midgets will have to wait for next fall to put an end to their losing streak.