6-1 West Bridgewater Football Misses Playoffs; Several Teams With Losing Records Across Massachusetts Made It

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2021/11/03/6-1-west-bridgewater-football-misses-playoffs-several-teams-with-losing-records-across-massachusetts-made-it/

The West Bridgewater High football team lost one game this year — against a team in a higher division.

Even though West Bridgewater had one of the better records in the state, the team won’t make the playoffs this season — even though several high school football teams with losing records across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will make the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association football playoffs.

West Bridgewater went 6-1 during the regular season. The team’s only regular season loss came against East Bridgwater on September 10. West Bridgewater lost that one 29-17; the team was at a disadvantage going into the game as East Bridgewater is a Division 6 school. West Bridgewater is a Division 7 school, meaning one division lower. MIAA divisions are largely based on school size.

That loss apparently sank West Bridgewater’s hopes, even though the team won its next six games.

The MIAA ranked West Bridgewater 19th among Division 7 teams. Only the top 16 teams made the playoff tournament. 

The MIAA uses a complicated power rankings system as well as some discretion to determine who does and doesn’t make the playoffs. It differs from previous systems that have been used. From 2013 to 2019, the MIAA held sectional playoffs for football. Generally, the top eight teams from each section of each division made the playoffs. Before that, teams had to win their league championship to make it to the playoffs.

The MIAA’s rankings take wins and losses, strength of schedule, and margin of victory into consideration; therefore, if a team were to take its starters out in the second half and play its backups, that would be less beneficial in the power rankings than keeping the starters in and running up the score.  

However, the MIAA also determined that a team can’t lose all or most games and make it to the playoffs just because those losses came against good teams. Every team that made the playoffs this season had at least three wins, although several of them went 3-4 or 3-5 — a losing record.

That includes Brockton High (3-5) in Division 1, North Andover High (3-5) in Division 2, Stoughton High (3-5) in Division 3, Danvers High (3-5) in Division 4, Apponoquet Regional High (3-4) and Triton Regional High (3-4) in Division 5, Seekonk High (3-4) in Division 6, and Millis High (3-5) in Division 8.

In Division 7, no teams with losing records made the playoffs. However, Leicester High went 4-4 and got in.

NewBostonPost spoke with a couple of people familiar with the West Bridgewater football program who think the MIAA’s new system got it wrong and that West Bridgewater deserved to make the playoffs.

West Bridgewater selectman Anthony Kinahan thinks the team deserved better.

“It’s disappointing,” Kinahan told NewBostonPost in a telephone interview on Wednesday morning. “They’re a good program and they’re having a good season. They work hard and deserved to make it. This is too good of a team to not make the playoffs.”

Dominic Damiano, who covers varsity high school football on his WARA AM-1320 radio show Four Deep Sports Talk, also takes issue with the new playoffs selection system.

“They’ve given up one touchdown total since week 2,” Damiano said, referring to West Bridgewater, in a telephone interview with NewBostonPost. “They beat good teams that are in the playoffs like Nantucket and Fairhaven. I don’t care what the MIAA says:  this is a playoff-caliber team.”

West Bridgewater head football coach Justin Kogler could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

MIAA communications director Tara Bennett told NewBostonPost in an email message on Wednesday afternoon: “Unfortunately, West Bridgewater did not meet MIAA tournament criteria for this year.  We commend them on their season and wish them all the best in their remaining games.”


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