Which YAIAA football teams could qualify for districts?
Don't miss these games on Friday night. Sean Heisey, York Daily Record
There are currently nine local teams in line to make the district playoffs
Last year, the final week of the YAIAA regular season had major division implications, with multiple games deciding which teams would win titles in Division I and Division III.
This year, things are a little different.
Following Friday night's games, Red Lion has clinched the Division I title, while York Catholic has a share of Division III and can win outright by beating York County Tech next week. York Suburban has also clinched a share in Division II, although a loss to Eastern York next week would leave the Trojans and Golden Knights sharing the title.
So if you're looking for some Week 10 divisional drama, like when Spring Grove upset South Western last season with a late touchdown pass to deny the Mustangs the Division I title, you might be disappointed. Still, teams have plenty to play for next week.
The District 3 playoff picture is shaping up, and there are currently nine York-Adams teams in line to make it. Considering all the concern at the beginning of the season about how the realignment of classifications would affect local teams' chances, that's a pretty good number.
But there are still some things left to be decided, particularly in Class 6A and 3A. Here's how the picture looks right now.
As it stands through Week 9, there are three YAIAA teams in this bracket, with Red Lion, Dallastown and Central York all in the top eight. Ranked fourth at 9-0, Red Lion is a lock to make it in. Things aren't quite as certain for the Wildcats and Panthers, although both teams are in pretty favorable positions.
After coming into this week right on the bubble at No. 8, Central York (6-3) pulled off a dramatic comeback win against Dallastown (7-2) to bump up to seventh. With their season finale coming against rebuilding William Penn, the Panthers should be able clinch a spot. Things are a little dicey for sixth-ranked Dallastown, especially its game against Red Lion looming next week. But even with another loss, the Wildcats would still be 7-3, whereas ninth-ranked Manheim Township already has four losses.
If Red Lion and Dallastown somehow finish fourth and fifth, the two teams would play each other in the first round. It's not the likeliest scenario, but it'd be fun to see two straight weeks of that longtime rivalry.
Things are pretty cut-and-dry here. Northeastern (7-2) is currently third in the eight-team bracket with a game against winless New Oxford next week. The next-highest YAIAA team is South Western (4-5) at No. 11. Things don't look good for the Mustangs.
This is the final classification that takes eight teams to the playoffs, and the situation here is pretty similar to 5A. Sixth-ranked York Suburban (7-2) is the only local team expected to make it, although a loss to Eastern York next week could allow a team like No. 9 East Pennsboro (6-3) to sneak in. Still, it isn't likely that one loss would knock the Trojans from sixth to ninth.
Now things are getting more interesting. At the beginning of the season, it seemed unlikely that multiple YAIAA teams would qualify for this four-team tournament. But through Week 9, Littlestown (7-2) and Bermudian Springs (7-2) are third and fourth, respectively.
Neither team is a lock, but with the Eagles playing winless Biglerville next week and the Bolts taking on skidding Fairfield, it looks like both will get in. The more interesting question is whether the teams could bump up to the second and third seeds and play each other in the semifinals.
The most route to that outcome is if second-ranked Wyomissing loses to Class 4A powerhouse Berks Catholic next week and falls a few spots. If the Eagles and Bolts stay put, the thought of them playing in the district title game is very intriguing.
York Catholic (8-1) is the top seed in the two-team bracket and can guarantee itself a spot in the title game by beating York County Tech next week.
Despite losing five in a row after Friday's loss to York Catholic, Fairfield (4-5) still has the second spot and a shot to make the title game. With only four teams in Class 1A this season, the Knights haven't had much competition.
With a game against Littlestown next week and Steelton-Highspire (3-6) barely behind them in percentage points, Fairfield could be in trouble. Lucky for the Green Knights, Steelton plays Middletown (9-0) next Friday.