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MHSAA football playoff pairings announced

EAST LANSING — Pairings were announced Sunday for the 2020 MHSAA football playoffs, set to start Thursday through Saturday with district first-round games in the 11-player playoffs and regional first-round games in the eight-player playoffs.

For the first time this season, all 11-player teams were divided into eight divisions before play began. Because of the shortened 2020 regular season due to COVID-19, all 11-player teams were then divided into districts of up to eight teams each, then paired into four regions. For eight-player, teams also were divided into two divisions before the start of play this fall, and the top 32 teams in each division based on playoff-point average were selected to a postseason field of 64 teams, which were then divided into four regions of eight teams.

Pairings for the first four weeks of the tournament are based on regular-season playoff point averages, with the highest-ranked team hosting, regardless of the distance between the two schools. For district first round and regional first-round play, the top-seeded team in each bracket will host the eighth-seeded team; and the second-seeded team will host the seventh-seeded team, etc.

District semifinals for 11-player and regional semifinals for eight-player will follow during the weekend of Nov. 6-7, and Nov. 13-14 will have district finals in the 11-player playoffs and regional finals in the eight-player playoffs. Both rounds will be played at the site of the highest-ranked team which was victorious in the previous round of play.

Regional finals in the 11-Player Playoffs will take place Nov. 20-21, at the site of the highest-ranked team. The eight-player playoff semifinals will take place on Nov. 20-21, pairing the winners of Region 1 vs. Region 2 and the winners of Region 3 vs. Region 4, at the sites of the highest-ranked team.

Semifinal games in the 11-Player Playoffs will take place Nov. 27-28, pairing the winners of Region 1 vs. Region 2 and the winners of Region 3 vs. Region 4. Highest-ranked teams will host unless participating teams are 200 or more miles apart; in those cases the MHSAA will assign the game at a prearranged site if one can be secured in a reasonable location.

All playoff tickets will be sold online only via GoFan to provide for a cashless and contactless purchasing process that also allows for contact tracing.

The eight-player finals will take place Nov. 27-28, and the 11-player finals will be played Dec. 4-5. An announcement on where those finals will be played, and including additional spectator information, will be forthcoming.

A total of nine 11-player teams and seven eight-player teams that began this season withdrew from participation in the MHSAA playoffs. Eight tiebreakers were necessary to determine bracket placement in 11-player; the first tie-breaker of head-to-head winner was used once, the second tie-breaker of opponents’ winning percentage was used five times, and the third tiebreaker — coin flip — was employed for two games.

Pairings including U.P. teams, with games featuring local schools in bold type and all times local:

11-Player Pairings

DIVISION 3

REGION 9 – DISTRICT 17

Muskegon Reeths-Puffer (2-4) 31.367 at Marquette (5-1) 45.167, Saturday, 2 p.m.

DIVISION 4

REGION 13 – DISTRICT 25

Escanaba (1-2) 18.600 at Alma (2-4) 24.333, Sat., 11 a.m.

Saginaw Arthur Hill (1-5) 18.500 at Sault Ste Marie (4-2) 37.467, Saturday, 2 p.m.

DIVISION 5

REGION 17 – DISTRICT 33

Ogemaw Heights (3-3) 25.833 at Kingsford (3-2) 28.133, Saturday, 2 p.m.

Hancock (2-3) 20.967 at Gladwin (3-3) 31.333, Saturday 1 p.m.

DIVISION 6

REGION 21 – DISTRICT 41

Menominee (4-2) 39.0 – BYE

Houghton (2-2) 22.100 at Calumet (2-3) 23.033, Sat. 1 p.m.

Ishpeming Westwood (5-1) 33.967 – BYE

Negaunee (3-3) 22.000 at Gladstone (2-3) 24.933, Friday, 7 p.m.

DIVISION 7

REGION 25 – DISTRICT 49

Manistique (2-3) 19.700 at Mancelona (2-4) 21.333, Friday, 6 p.m.

L’Anse (1-5) 15.533 at TC St Francis (4-2) 35.0, Sat., 6 p.m.

DIVISION 8

REGION 29 – DISTRICT 57

Rogers City (2-4) 11.833 at Iron Mountain (5-1) 36.933, Saturday, 12 p.m.

Gwinn (3-3) 18.867 at East Jordan (3-3) 19.833. Friday, 6 p.m. EDT

Norway (1-4) 11.900 at West Iron County (6-0) 32.600, Friday, 6 p.m.

St Ignace (1-5) 13.167 at Bark River-Harris (3-2) 22.300, Friday, 7 p.m. EDT

8-Player Pairings

DIVISION 1

REGION 1

Brimley (2-4) 15.333 at Pellston (6-0) 31.50, Thu, 7 p.m.

Munising (4-2) 24.167 at Indian River Inland Lakes (5-1) 25.933, Saturday, 3 p.m.

Newberry (3-3) 19.300 at Onaway (6-0) 30.200, Saturday 2 p.m.

Pickford 1, Stephenson 0 – Stephenson forfeit

DIVISION 2

REGION 1

Engadine (0-6) 8.500 at Powers North Central (6-0) 31.250, Saturday, 12 p.m.

Lake Linden-Hubbell (3-3) 21.500 at Crystal Falls Forest Park (4-1) 25.000, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Car.-Nad. (3-3) 18.9 at Cedarville (5-1) 29.833, Thu, 7 p.m.

Rudyard (3-3) 19.0 at Rapid River (5-1) 27.833, Thu, 7 p.m.

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