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home : columns : joel alvstad
July 19, 2018

10/18/2017 10:10:00 AM
Wild, wild Section 3 Nine-Man scene

Joel Alvstad
Sports Editor

Generally, when playoff time approaches in high school football, you see one or two teams start to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
In the 9-Man South West Sub-District, the team that has separated itself is Red Rock Central, which has gone 7-0 to start the season.
But the Falcons are in a different section for the playoffs than several of the other teams in the sub-district.
Mt. Lake Area, Westbrook-Walnut Grove, Hills-Beaver Creek, Edgerton-Ellsworth, Fulda and Heron Lake-Okabena are all in Section 3 Nine-Man.
And with one game to go before playoffs begin Tuesday night, the seedings for the playoffs are very much up in the air because, unlike RRC in Section 2 Nine-Man, no team in Section 3 has separated from the pack.
Five teams currently have 4-3 records. There's a chance that all five could finish the regular season with 5-3 records.
Here's where it gets complicated.
One of those teams is Nicollet, which plays in the Central sub-district. The Raiders don't face any of the other teams at the top of the section during the regular season and there are no common opponents.
MLA is also at a distinct disadvantage. The Wolverines lost to both EE and Hills-Beaver Creek and do not face WWG this season.
WWG, EE and HBC all traded wins against each other.
Section 3 Nine-Man uses the Minnesota-scores.net QRF to determine section seeding.
Based on the current QRF, MLA would likely be seeded fourth, having lost head to head to HBC. That would likely mean a first-round matchup against Nicollet Tuesday at Munson Field.
Meanwhile, WWG currently sits in the second position, having lost to EE but defeating HBC. If WWG stays as the second seed, it would likely face either Granada-Huntley-East Chain-Truman or Fulda in the first round.
But strange things can happen late in the season and in the playoffs. The Wolverines still have an outside shot at the number-one seed, but it would take upset losses by other teams in the section to get there. The fourth seed, for now, seems like the most-likely scenario.
Regardless of how the seedings shake out, Section 3 Nine-Man is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in the entire state, regardless of class.
It should be a fun couple of weeks.

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