WIAA implements football seeding committee to sort out playoff picture

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Rodney Harwood/Columbia Basin Herald Othello junior Isaiah Perez (44) is expected to put the power in the Huskies' power running game this season.

It’s just been a matter of waiting for the smoke to clear. With a certain crispness in the air and fall on the way, it’s time for high school football to take center stage.

Columbia Basin football teams will take to the field tonight, every team with the same goal — to play in the last game of the year in the Tacoma Dome.

The road to the Dome will be the same, but there will be a little something different with the playoff process in 2018. The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association has developed a football seeding committee, which will seed the 16 teams from each classification, as well as the eight-team 1B bracket.

This system will replace the draw system, which has been in place in previous years, taking a page out of the RPI rankings with winning percentage, opponents winning percentage and strength of schedule and other factors in the seeding process.

“That’s going to be something new this season and I like it,” Othello defensive coordinator Kevin Hensley said. “It takes into consideration a number of different factors and balances things out throughout the state.”

Teams still qualify for the playoffs through the WIAA District system. Once the field is determined, the seeding committee will rank and place teams in the first round of the bracket based on their performance throughout the regular season and playoffs.

Each classification has its own seeding committee comprised of the best football minds from across the state to see if they can’t make the playoff system better moving forward. Each committee met Aug. 12 and will come together again when the playoff picture becomes more clear at the end of the regular season.

The Moses Lake Chiefs open their season at Ferris High School in Spokane at Joe Albi Stadium. The Columbia Basin Big Nine (6-0) champions are coming off a 7-3 season. Kickoff is at 8 p.m.

In the Central Washington Athletic Conference, the defending CWAC North champion Othello Huskies open the season at 1A Connell. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

The Ephrata Tigers are coming off one of their best seasons in years when they started the 2017 schedule with four consecutive victories. They host Cashmere at Kiwanis Field, beginning at 7 p.m.

Quincy opted to forfeit its season opener, citing safety reasons because of the late outdoor practice schedule and will open its season at Brewster Sept. 7

The three-time defending 1A state champion Royal Knights put their 41-game winning streak on the line against a tough 2A Ellensburg team at David Nielsen Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

Warden opens the season on the road at Okanogan with a 7 p.m. kickoff and Wahluke, under the direction of first-year head coach Ryan Antos, opens at Wapato. Kickoff for that one starts at 7 p.m.

The defending 1B state champion Almira/Coulee-Hartline Warriors kickoff the season at Cusick, while Lind-Ritzville/Sprague hosts Davenport in a nonleague game.

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