It’s Time to End the Quarterfinal Round in South Dakota 11AAA Football
We split 11AA into two classes back in 2013 and 11AAA became "big boy football" at that point. It's time we just embrace that.
Last night the quarterfinals were held in Class 11AAA. Nine teams make up Class 11AAA and eight teams make the playoff field. The top four teams in the class have been evident throughout the regular season, and they made sure to prove it on Thursday night.
- Roosevelt 55, Aberdeen Central 14
- Washington 49, Watertown 14
- O'Gorman 76, Lincoln 14
- Brandon Valley 47, RC Central 8
That's a combined 227-50. We had one team enter the playoffs with a 1-8 record (Aberdeen) and another that went 2-7 (Lincoln). It's also not just a one-off event when it comes to Class 11AAA and the difference in points in the quarterfinal round.
- 2017: 142-71
- 2016: 202-62
- 2015: 149-56
- 2014: 165-38
- 2013: 139-55
That puts the average single-game score over the last six years of the 11AAA quarterfinals at 43-14.
I'm not advocating for taking opportunities or games away from kids. We have nine teams that are in the class and there's an easy solution to this. We need to add one week to the regular season for 11AAA and make everyone play an 11AAA schedule (8 games vs. AAA, 2 games vs. AA).
The issue with this is that we would have to break away from the ESD conference scheduling, and we all know that is as likely as me winning the lottery. It would force 11AA to play a fairly balanced schedule (7 games vs. AA, 2 games vs. AAA) also, but that would allow them to keep their quarterfinal round. Some 11AA teams played upwards of three games against 11AAA schools this season, so there's no reason why we can't balance that. Ideally, they would also switch to a ten-week regular season (8 vs. AA, 2 vs. AAA) but I'm starting with baby steps at this point.
Once the regular season is played, we could still use the seed point system but the tiebreakers would be fairly obvious at that point. The top four teams in 11AAA would move into the playoffs and we would begin in the semifinals on the same week that everyone else is playing. On top of it all, the regular season would become even more important and every game would play a factor into the final standings.
It's just a dream of mine at this time, but I truly hope it's something that could be considered in the future. Add an extra regular season game and drop the quarterfinal round.