Meridian's Northwest Conference 1A football showdown at Blaine on Friday, Oct. 12, already was looking pretty good, considering it's a match up of two of the three unbeaten teams in league play so far this season.
But the ramifications of the game look even greater when examining the 1A playoff format, which was released this week.
The Borderites, Trojans and Mount Baker, which is also 2-0 in NWC 1A play entering Week 7, are the early front runners to win the league title, though Friday Harbor, Lynden Christian and Nooksack Valley are all still in the mix. Whichever team manages to come out on top will earn an automatic trip to the state playoffs.
No Northwest District playoffs, no tri-district playoffs - just simply the tri-district's No. 2 seed to state, and a week off to rest up and get ready for the round of 16 on the second weekend in November.
That route to the state playoffs seems awfully nice compared to what will await the second- and third-place NWC 1A finishers.
The top team among the Cascade Conference's 1A teams - Coupeville, King's and South Whidbey - will receive the district's No. 2 seed into the tri-district playoffs, meaning there is only one more spot for the remaining five NWC teams and two teams from the Cascade Conference to fight over.
To decide that third seed, the Northwest District will hold a playoff on Oct. 30 at the site of the second-place finisher in the NWC 1A.
At 6 p.m., the third-place NWC 1A team will face the second-place Cascade 1A team for one half of football. The winner of that half game moves on to play the second-place NWC 1A team at 7:30 p.m. in another half game.
The team that emerges from that scenario will travel to the South-Central District's No. 2 seed for a game on Nov. 2 to play for either the tri-district's No. 3 or 4 seed into the state playoffs.
In 2013, when the tri-district receives five berths to state instead of just four, the NWC 1A's second-place finisher will automatically advance to the tri-district playoffs, while the third- and fourth-place NWC 1A finishers will play a series of half games with the Cascade No. 2.
In volleyball, all five NWC 1A schools will advance to a double-elimination 1A Northwest District Tournament, to be held Oct. 27 at Lynden Christian. That tournament will send three teams on to a tri-district tournament a week later at King's. The Northwest District champion automatically earns a trip to state, while the second- and third-place finishers at the district tournament will have to win one or two matches, respectively, at the tri-district tournament to earn one of five berths to state out of the tri-district.
All five NWC 1A schools also will advance to the 1A Northwest District Tournament in girls' soccer, where they will face a single-elimination first-round game on Oct. 24. The four first-round winners in the district tournament all will move on to the tri-district tournament, with the district champion receiving an automatic berth to state. The remaining three teams to advance out of the district tournament must win two games to earn one of six berths to state out of the tri-district.
Reach David Rasbach at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-715-2286.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at email@example.com or call 715-2271.