Hot Corner: High school football playoffs
By Rich Palzewic
BROWN COUNTY – The Wisconsin high school football playoffs are upon us.
Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) postseason games begin this Friday, Oct. 22, with Level 1 games.
Six area teams – Ashwaubenon, Bay Port, De Pere, Notre Dame Academy, Pulaski and West De Pere – qualified for the postseason.
Last weekend, I saw some comments on social media wondering how a team like Ashwaubenon, sitting at 3-6 overall and 3-4 in the Fox River Classic Conference (FRCC) could make the playoffs with a losing conference record.
I thought I’d take a few minutes to explain how that happened.
Teams qualify automatically for the playoffs by winning at least half of their conference games.
So, that’s how Bay Port (6-1), De Pere (7-0), Notre Dame (5-2), Pulaski (5-2) and West De Pere (4-3) qualified – they won at least half of their conference games.
Also, non-conference losses mean nothing in determining if you make the playoffs.
West De Pere is a good example of this.
The Phantoms finished 4-5 overall but 4-3 in the FRCC.
West De Pere, under Head Coach Chris Greisen, lost its two non-conference games to begin the season to Wauwatosa West and Hortonville, but essentially, those losses meant nothing in the grand scheme of things.
Thirty-two teams qualified in each of the seven divisions for a total of 224 teams.
The teams that won more than half of their conference games totaled 194, so that meant 30 teams were needed to fill out the rest of the brackets.
All of those 30 teams had below-.500 conference records, including the Jaguars.
You might wonder how the divisions are determined.
The top 32 teams in enrollment make up Division 1, while the next 32 in size were placed in Division 2, and so on.
Bay Port, with an enrollment of 1,899, is the 13th-largest high school in Wisconsin.
De Pere, with an enrollment of 1,395 and winners of the FRCC, normally has competed in Division 1, but it made the Division 2 cut this season.
That could bode well for the Redbirds because they are the third-largest Division 2 team in the playoffs behind Milwaukee King and Racine Horlick.
Pulaski (1,196 – D2), West De Pere (1,046 – D2) and Notre Dame (780 – D3) are solidly in the middle of their divisions in enrollment, while Ashwaubenon snuck into Division 3 when its normally in Division 2.
The Jaguars (981) are the largest school in Division 3, and their reward is facing top-seeded Luxemburg-Casco.
Whoever you’re rooting for, get out to watch your favorite local team, cheer loud and show good sportsmanship.
As always, thanks for reading.