SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

October 27, 2012

State votes yes on new football playoff format

(Continued)

Coffey said that the NEC athletic directors will likely start discussing how to move forward as far as scheduling and setting up games for 2013 at their next meeting on Nov. 8.

“The biggest question is, how do we do this? Do we play Salem, as a league foe, before the playoffs would begin? Or on Thanksgiving as always? Or both?” Coffey said.

“Probably what we’ll do is put in some type of point system to decide who goes (to the playoffs). But in a point system, we probably wouldn’t play (traditional NEC rivals) Winthrop and Saugus again (because of their smaller enrollments). Same with Marblehead and Gloucester; they’ll be in our same division (playoff-wise), but different tiers (of the NEC).”

Pugh understands one of the major sticking points for schools who were against the proposal: that it will somehow take away from the tradition that is Thanksgiving Day football. But he doesn’t feel that’s the case.

“Overall, it’s the best thing for high school football. It’ll make the whole year so much more exciting,” he said. “All you have to do is look at Marblehead and Beverly right now; there’s a good chance one of those teams could finish 10-1 and be going home for the year. Next season, that won’t happen.”

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