BY LEROY BOYER
Lost in the shuffle over how many fans can attend high school sporting events, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association approved postseason football brackets at its meeting Wednesday.
Those brackets don’t work for the schools in District 11.
At its committee meeting Thursday via Zoom, District 11 officials proposed opting out of the PIAA football playoffs and holding an expanded district tournament. The proposal was tabled for one week so representatives from each of the three leagues that encompass District 11 — Schuylkill League, Colonial League and Eastern Pennsylvania Conference — can assess the opinions of its members.
With COVID-19 rules and regulations in mind, the revised PIAA playoffs are slated to start the weekend of Nov. 6-7, which is normally Week 11 of the high school football season, so the state championships can be completed Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 27-28. These brackets only include district champions and are only in place for 2020.
That leaves no room for district playoffs. If District 11 decided to compete in the PIAA playoffs, there would be no district playoff games and the power rating system would be used to declare which team is the district champion and worthy of the district’s state playoff spot.
“They want to end the state championships by Thanksgiving. In order to have enough weeks in the postseason for state play, that backed into our regular season at one point in time,” District 11 football chairman Jason Zimmerman, the athletic director at Northwestern Lehigh, explained. “The brackets they finally approved only allowed us to have a single-game district championship game in Class 6A.”
Added District 11 chairman Bob Hartman, the athletic director at Whitehall: “Based on the brackets that were presented two weeks ago, in order to have any (district) playoff games, we would have to be playing in our traditional Week 10, with the exception of 6A, which would be a two-team, championship-only contest to qualify for the state tournament.
“In every other one of our classifications, the best-case scenario was that we named a champion by power ratings. The worst-case scenario is we’re in a subregional, and we would need to work that out with the other district.”<