Area Football: It's October, time to talk playoffs
Last Friday’s 20-12 loss to Eveleth-Gilbert was a hard way to celebrate homecoming for the Crosby-Ironton Rangers.
It hurt more Saturday morning when the Rangers saw what happened to their top seed in the Section 6-2A standings.
The Rangers dropped to third in a section that seeds off the Quality Results Formula (QRF). They are behind Holdingford (No. 16) and the current top-seeded Pierz (No. 15).
The Rangers own a No. 17 ranking so winning out could bump them up should Holdingford or Pierz stumble.
Pierz at No. 15 is a gross under-ranking.
The Pioneers are 4-1 overall. The one loss was to Holdingford — 12-7 on Sept. 7. Since then, Pierz has run up and down the field against opponents to the tune of three straight wins.
Pierz travels to Rockford (1-4) Friday before hosting Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (2-3) and Maple Lake (5-0).
Also in Section 6-2A is the 2-3 Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines. If the playoffs started today, W-DC would travel to C-I (4-1) for the first round. The two Mid-State Conference rivals haven’t played football against each other since a Section 6-2A quarterfinal game in 2009.
The Rangers host Hinckley-Finlayson Friday before traveling to Duluth Marshall and Esko.
One of C-I’s earlier wins was against the 1-4 Aitkin Gobblers, who are No. 47 in Class 3A, which puts them fifth in the Section 7-3A standings. Virginia is No. 46 and in fourth place. Section 7-3A only has six teams so Esko (No. 11) and Proctor (No. 12) would likely get first-round byes in the playoffs. Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin (No. 24) is the third ranked team and would probably host International Falls (No. 51). Aitkin and Virginia, which are both 1-4 on the season, would face each other in the first round.
The Gobblers have lost four straight and host Duluth Marshall (3-2) Friday, then Esko before traveling to No. 1 ranked Moose Lake-Willow River.
Virginia only has seven games on its schedule. I’m not sure if that will hurt the Blue Devils’ QRF or not, but their final two games are against Greenway and Proctor.
No. 39 Pequot Lakes (1-4) and No. 54 Staples-Motley (0-5) would both be traveling for the first round of the Section 8-3A playoffs.
The Patriots host Crookston (3-2) Friday in Pine River and then travels to Hawley (5-0) followed by Thief River Falls (2-3) at the Fargodome.
The S-M Cardinals are at Roseau (2-3) Friday and then host Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (1-4) before playing Breckenridge (0-5) at the Fargodome.
In the Section 4, 9-man standings, Verndale (3-2) is sitting in fourth place with a QRF of 25. However, according to the Minnesota-scores.net website, this section is a coaches vote seeding.
The Pirates are coming off a 27-22 loss to Prairie Valley Sept. 27 and will travel to Ashby (3-2) and then host Brandon/Evansville (2-3) and Ortonville (0-5) to close out the season.
Underwood leads the section with a No. 4 QRF followed by Onamia (No. 6) and Wheaton/Herman-Norcross (No. 14).
Section 6-1A is also a coaches vote according to the website. If the playoffs began today, both Pillager and Pine River-Backus would be hosting playoff games.
Pillager, coming off its fourth straight victory, has a QRF of 14, which puts it behind Browerville (No. 13) and Ottertail Central (No. 8).
PR-B suffered its first loss of the season last week and dropped to No. 18 in the QRF. The Tigers are the No. 4 seed.
The Tigers are at Blackduck Friday before hosting Pillager Oct. 12. They close the season in Baudette against Lake of the Woods.
After a season-opening loss to Mahnomen, Pillager has outscored its last four opponents 207-56. They host Cass Lake-Bena Friday, travel to Pine River and then conclude the regular season at home against Lake Park-Audubon.
By the way, Mahnomen (5-0) holds the top QRF ranking for Class 1A and has allowed just one touchdown all season. That was to Pillager. Since then, the Indians have outscored their opponents 186-0.
The 2-3 Little Falls Flyers own a No. 27 ranking in Class 4A and that puts them fifth in the Section 4 standings. Fergus Falls (4-1) is ranked No. 4 followed by Detroit Lakes (5-0, No. 6), defending state champion Rocori (4-1, No. 11) and East Grand Forks (3-2, No. 24).
Little Falls would travel to Cold Spring for the first round of playoffs should they start this week. Rocori beat Brainerd to open the season, but a loss to Sauk Rapids last Friday torpedoed the Spartans to third in the section.
The Flyers have won two straight and travel to Foley (3-2) and Albany (3-2) before hosting Milaca (0-5) in the season finale.
And now for Brainerd. This is what I know for fact. Brainerd is the No. 8 QRF ranked Class 6A team. The Warriors have won four straight and if the section seeds according to the QRF they would be the second-seeded team in their section behind the QRF’s No. 2 ranked Osseo (5-0).
Also in Brainerd’s section are: Maple Grove (No. 9 QRF, 4-1 record), Blaine (No. 16, 3-2), Champlin Park (No. 17, 3-2), Anoka (No. 21, 2-3), Centennial (No. 24, 1-4) and Coon Rapids (No. 29, 0-5).
If the playoffs started today, I believe, Brainerd would host Centennial, who the Warriors beat 34-28 in the Class 5A state quarterfinals in 2009.
Brainerd will host St. Michael-Albertville (3-2) Saturday for homecoming before taking to the road against Grand Rapids (0-5) and Alexandria (1-4).