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District playoff numbers say YAIAA is improving

The number of YAIAA football teams left in the District playoffs was whittled from six down to two last night. Dreams of a District title live on at Delone Catholic and West York -- the Squires will play for their second District 3 title in three years Friday against No. 1 seed Lancaster Catholic.

But how does the YAIAA performance in this year's District tournament compare to years past?

Earlier, I took a look back at how the league has fared in the District playoffs the last four years. Why the last four? Because in 2006, the District playoffs were expanded to 16 teams in Class AAAA and AAA, and eight teams in AA and A.

The numbers seem to indicate that the YAIAA has improved in that time. This season, the league had 12 teams qualify for Districts and six advance to the second -- both four-year highs.

Below, I've broken down how YAIAA teams from each class have fared in the last four District 3 playoffs. I'll let you draw your own conclusions from the numbers.

2009 (12 qualifiers, 8-10 overall so far)

AAAA: Five teams, 2-5 overall (Central, South Western reached quarterfinals)

AAA: Three teams, 2-2 overall (West York in semifinals)

AA: Three teams, 3-2 overall (Delone Catholic in finals)

A: One teams, 1-1 overall (York Catholic reached semifinals)

2008 (11 qualifiers, 7-10 record)

AAAA: Four teams, 2-4 (Central, William Penn reached quarters)

AAA: Two teams, 4-1 (West York won District title)

AA: Four teams, 1-4 (Delone reached semis)

A: One team, 0-1 (York Catholic qualified)

2007 (7 qualifiers, 5-6 record)

AAAA: Four teams, 1-4 (William Penn reached quarters)

AAA: One team, 1-1 (West York reached quarters)

AA: Two teams, 3-1 (Delone won District title)

A: No qualifiers

2006 (9 qualifiers, 6-9 record)

AAAA: Two teams, 0-2 (Red Lion, William Penn qualified)

AAA: Four teams, 6-4 (New Oxford reached semis, South Western reached finals)

AA: Two teams, 0-2 (Bermudian Springs, Littlestown qualified)

A: One team, 0-1 (Hanover qualified)

Of course, with the positives come other deficiencies. Most notably, a YAIAA quad-A school has not advanced past the District quarterfinals in this four-year time span. The biggest classification has generally been ruled (at least in a District sense) by teams from the Lancaster-Lebanon and Mid-Penn leagues.

Also, one has to weigh what effect so-called "bubble" schools -- whose student populations cause them to fluctuate between classifications -- have on the numbers. This year, two teams -- New Oxford (AAA) and York Suburban (AA) -- squeaked into Districts. Both schools will be moving up a classification next year and may have a tougher road to the playoffs.

Still, the numbers seem to be at least modestly encouraging if you're a YAIAA fan.