Some quirks going into this week's full slate of prep football playoff action:
- Five of the this week's state tournament games - excluding the preliminary qualifying playoffs - are repeat matchups, pairing up opponents that have already squared off once this season.- Early week qualifying playoffs are needed to determine five 4A or 3A playoff berths, thanks to teams ending the regular region season tied for their leagues' final tournament spot.
- And the only region in the 3A and 4A ranks that uses regular-season head-to-head results as a tiebreaker when two teams tie for the final playoff berth is the league that had a three-way tie. With each team losing to one and beating the other, a special three-way playoff is needed Tuesday to break the tie.
Of course, none of this - repeat matchups, qualifying playoffs and three-way ties - is nothing new to Utah prep football. Just another postseason puzzle that needs to be pieced together.
Half of the eight 1A and 2A quarterfinal playoff games feature opponents who are already well acquainted with each other. In the 2A bracketing, Delta takes another shot against top-ranked Region 10 foe Hurricane, with the Rabbits the last team to hold the Tigers to a single-digit winning margin. And in another 2A quarterfinal, long-time rivals Beaver and Kanab square off in a repeat of a previous Region 10 contest, in which the third-ranked Beavers won 26-9.
Two of the four 1A playoffs are "ditto" affairs - but it's easy to see a lot of repeats in the 10-team 1A classification. Fourth-ranked Rich has another shot at third-ranked Duchesne after the Rebels were trimmed by the Eagles three weeks ago. And Altamont can seek revenge against second-ranked Milford in another 1A quarterfinal, with the Rams having claimed an 8-0 victory in early September.
One 4A first-round game in each of the 4A and 3A playoffs is a repeat of an August preseason matchup between West Jordan and Clearfield. In the earlier meeting, Clearfield claimed a 35-9 home victory, but the Jaguars have won five of seven games since then and own the home-field advantage in the playoff game.
But before getting to the weekend's 4A and 3A first-round games and the 2A and 1A quarterfinals, there are two 4A and three 3A berths to be determined by early week qualifying playoffs. The playoffs are required since two - or in one instance, three - teams tied for a league's final playoff berth.
Most regions ignore head-to-head results during the regular season - even to the point of not having the game played at the home field of the regular- season victor but at a neutral site instead.
And the one league - Region 7 - which uses head-to-head results in breaking a ties - even in determining its final playoff spot couldn't avoid a preliminary playoff since Carbon, Wasatch and Uintah all tied for third. No one team dominated the other two in head-to-head competition - Carbon beat Wasatch, which Uintah, which beat Carbon - so a three-way playoff is scheduled for 6 p.m Tuesday at Lehi.
To break the trio tie, two teams - as selected by a coin flip - will play the first half, with the winning team playing the third team in the second half. The second-half winner advances as the third-place seed from Region 7.
In other qualifying playoffs, Bonneville takes on Weber 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at Roy (Bonneville won 38-21 in the previous meeting); Brighton faces Olympus 4 p.m. at Skyline (Brighton won 22-8 in the early game); Murray meet Woods Cross 4 p.m. Tuesday at Granite (Murray won 14-3 in the head-to-head game just two weeks ago); and Ben Lomond pairs up with Logan 1 p.m. Wednesday at Box Elder (Ben Lomond won 31-13 in early September).
The winners will move into 4A and 3A first-round playoff games, which will likely be played on Saturday.