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Tri-Valley League Football Race in Focus

Posted by Andrea Murphy on Nov 18 2004 at 04:00PM PST
By Rick Smith News/Sport Writer Metrowest Daily News The Tri-Valley League football playoff situation heading into Thanksgiving has all the clarity of mud. Holliston, Westwood and Medfield enter Turkey Day with dreams of playing beyond that date. There are two irrefutable facts surrounding the situation. 1. If Holliston beats Westwood, the Panthers will go to the playoffs regardless of what happens in the Medfield/Dover-Sherborn game. 2. If Westwood beats Holliston and Dover-Sherborn beats Medfield, the Wolverines will go to the playoffs. "If Holliston wins, there will be no need for tiebreakers," said Holliston athletic director Jim Carboneau. "If Westwood beats us and Medfield loses, there will also be no need for tiebreakers." Naturally, Holliston coach Todd Kiley hopes there will be no need for tiebreakers at all. "All we've been talking about with our staff and kids is that we're preparing to win this football game," Kiley said. "We just need to take care of business. Our kids have done a good job of taking one game at a time and that's what we plan to do in this instance." The only fly in the TVL ointment is if Westwood beats Holliston and Medfield beats Dover-Sherborn. That would create a three-way tie and that's when things will get interesting. The first criteria is head-to-head competition. But if there is a three-way tie that will be a wash. The second is power ratings, meaning that each team is assigned points for beating teams in the league. Again, a three-way tie would create a wash. The third tiebreaker is the reverse power ratings, meaning points assigned for victories among each other. Once again, that would be a wash. So the fourth tiebreaker, where the TVL has gotten creative, would be key. The playoff representative will be determined by points allowed in the first half among the three playoff contenders. Medfield has already played both Holliston and Westwood and allowed a total of 13 points in the opening half. With the Panthers and Wolverines playing on Thanksgiving, the Warriors are the only common opponent so far. Holliston didn't allow a point against Medfield in the first half while Westwood surrendered 19 first-half points against the Warriors. "It's like golf, low score wins," said Medfield coach Vin Joseph. "Us going is predicated on us beating Dover-Sherborn and Westwood beating Holliston because we beat Westwood. Holliston would have to allow more than 13 points in the first half." Ashland athletic director Smokey Moresi thinks going down to the fourth tiebreaker is the most equitable system the TVL could use. "I think it's much fairer than what we've had in the past," said Moresi. "It puts the emphasis on defense, not offense. It takes offense out of the equation so teams won't be running up the score. A team doesn't mind getting shut out in the first half, but there are bad feelings when someone puts 35 or 40 points up on you when there is no need for it." Carboneau presents another irrefutable fact. "It's really exciting," he said of the Holliston/Westwood game and the Dover-Sherborn/Medfield matchups. "It should create huge crowds."

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