, Salem, MA


October 27, 2012

State votes yes on new football playoff format


Beverly High athletic director James Coffey, whose school voted against the plan, said he felt the vote could go either way.

“(On Thursday) I thought it was going to pass, but from talking to people at Assabet (yesterday) morning it seemed like it had no shot,” said Coffey. “But we heard the majority of Central and Western Mass. teams were all for it, and they were all there (yesterday). And we got a sense that the Southern Mass. teams were about two-thirds in favor for it.

“This was the fairest way to do it. It’s a two-year pilot, so we’ll see what happens.”

Under the new plan, every league with at least five teams will send a minimum of two squads to the playoffs. The fields will be filled out by wild card teams determined by a rating system that is similar to RPI, awarding points for wins based on the division of the opponents, and for wins of opponents a team has beaten.

“Fifty-five percent of teams will make the playoffs,” said Dembowski.

Yesterday’s vote came after the plan had passed the muster of the MIAA’s football and tournament management committees last spring. There was a fair amount of discussion about the plan leading up to the vote, and ultimately the schools decided to give playoffs a chance for the first time in Massachusetts schoolboy football history.

“It was a very well-run meeting. Peter Smith did an awesome job going through all the scenarios and presenting the plan,” said Dembowski. “There was very little discussion. Coming in, we felt most of the objections were from North of Boston, and the South, Central and Western Mass. seemed to be in favor.”

The plan allows conferences to determine how to handle Thanksgiving matchups that are also league games. Some leagues, such as the Catholic Conference and Catholic Central League, have already made inroads to those determinations, but it hasn’t been discussed by the Northeastern Conference (which Dembowski estimated voted 8-4 against the plan) yet.

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