Representatives of 4A schools have come together to organize a statewide “finals week” for Season 2 team sports that features a BCS-style football showcase.
The football matchups will feature No. 1 vs. No. 2 and No. 3 vs. No. 4, with seeding to be determined by a committee. Volleyball and soccer will have an eight-team bracket with contests April 6, 8 and 10.
Marshfield athletic director Greg Mulkey was a driving force behind the effort. He began laying the groundwork for the Season 2 culminating-week plan in October
“In high school, I made it to the playoffs in all three sports my senior year, and I kind of put myself in their shoes and imagined not at least having an opportunity,” Mulkey said. “I just felt it was really important for us in our classification to try to do everything we could to give our kids the experience.”
The football committee has two representatives from each of the six leagues. They will vote for the top eight each week – not including teams in their league – to determine the rankings.
The committee released its first rankings Sunday:
2.Marist Catholic 71
9.La Grande 19
11.Crook County 2
After the fifth week, the committee will vote for the final rankings. No. 1 will play No. 2 and No. 3 will meet No. 4 in showcase games. The teams not in the top four can choose to play against another 4A team, a team in their region or not to play at all.
Mulkey said there was discussion of taking the six league champions and matching them up in bowl games, but the prevailing desire was for culmination games.
“It came back to, 'Hey, we're trying to do a (4A) event in every other sport, let's do it in football, too,'” Mulkey said.
In volleyball and soccer, each league will submit a champion and a second-place team to a rankings committee. The league champions will receive automatic berths into the eight-team bracket, seeded by ranking. The two highest-ranked second-place teams also will receive berths, with the remaining four teams to be considered as alternates.
The games will be played at home sites, but if the visitor is required to travel at least 360 miles round-trip, the contest will move to a neutral 4A venue.
Mulkey lauded 4A representatives for their spirit of cooperation.
“It's been awesome,” he said. “I'll look back on my career and say this is one of the best moments because of the circumstances in which we live. It's a very unusual challenge. ... I've always said, 'If you can do it, why not do it?'”