By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
Waxahachie Indian football faithful, along with all fans of District 11-6A teams, should buckle up for a wild ride Friday night following a decision by district officials.
The District 11-6A Executive Committee met this week to discuss the fallout caused by Waco High having to forfeit each of its next two district games due to a COVID spread in its locker room.
As first reported by The Waco Tribune, a Waco High football player received word that he had tested positive for COVID during the fourth quarter of the Lions’ eventual loss (31-13) against Mansfield High at Vernon Newsom Stadium this past Friday. Officials called the game with 4:45 to play in the fourth quarter, despite the player not being in attendance in Mansfield.
The positive test and contact tracing ultimately resulted in Waco High having to forfeit each of its next two 11-6A games. It also triggered a contingency plan agreed to by the DEC prior to the football season kicking off.
This week was already scheduled to be the midseason zone playoffs for the eight 11-6A teams. The games now hold a lot more weight — a lot.
Prior to the season, third-year Waxahachie head football coach Todd Alexander explained the zone playoffs would be a “way to determine the four district playoffs berths if we were to get shut down after the fourth game of the district schedule.”
To do so, 11-6A would pit the top team from each zone against each other, which is happening this week with Duncanville hosting Cedar Hill in a battle of top-10 teams in the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football 6A poll. The second seed from Zone A would also play the third seed from Zone B and vise-versa while the two fourth-seeds would square off. The latter would’ve been Mansfield Lake Ridge hosting Waco High, which is a game that will now not be played due to the Lions’ COVID situation.
If all eight teams were able to complete the full seven-game 11-6A schedule, then the results from the midseason zone playoff games would simply become a regular district game. However, if, for whatever reason, a team was forced to forfeit a game or games, a switch would be flipped.
In that scenario, the winner of the top two teams in the midseason zone playoff — in this case, Duncanville and Cedar Hill — would be the 11-6A champion, while the loser would be the district’s second seed in the 6A playoffs. The winners of the two-versus-three games would fill in as the third and fourth seed out of 11-6A, and the final three weeks of the regular season wouldn’t factor into playoff seeding.
“The only reason we would revert to [those outcomes] for the playoffs is if someone is shutdown in week eight, nine or 10,” Alexander told KBEC Sports prior to the season. “If we are still rolling, the seedings will be determined like they always have been, and this pool play will be out of the window.”
Well, here we are — Waco High has shut down its football program for two weeks, making Friday’s midseason zone playoff games a one-game play-in for No. 12 DeSoto, Mansfield, Waco Midway and Waxahachie.
To sum it up for the Waxahachie fandom: With a win, the Indians will be in the 6A playoffs for the first time in program history. It would also be their first football playoff berth since 2017.
The Tribe will need to build on the momentum quarterback BJ Hawkins and the offense found in last week’s 31-21 win against Mansfield Lake Ridge to secure that coveted playoff berth.
The 11-6A standings before kickoff Friday:
1B #2 Duncanville (3-0)
1A #8 Cedar Hill (3-0)
2A #12 DeSoto (2-1)
2B Mansfield (2-1)
3A Waxahachie (1-2)
3B Midway (1-2)
4A Lake Ridge (0-3)
4B Waco (0-3)
Friday’s games (all 7:30 p.m. kickoffs):
• Cedar Hill at Duncanville at Panther Stadium
• Waco Midway at DeSoto at Eagle Stadium
• Waxahachie at Mansfield at Vernon Newsom Stadium
“We agreed when we decided to do the pool play that, if a team had to miss a district game, we would revert to pool play to decide the playoff teams,” Alexander said Friday. “So, with Waco High out the next two games, that’s what we are doing.”
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith