The Blaine, Meridian and Nooksack Valley football teams are fit to be tied, and make no doubt about it, the Pioneers are the only ones happy to be there.
After starting the NWC 1A season off 3-0, the Borderites dropped their final two games, while the Trojans went 1-2 down the stretch. The Pioneers, on the other hand, rebounded from an 0-2 start by winning three straight.
The result is that all three are knotted for second place with matching 3-2 records in league play. After Mount Baker clinched the NWC 1A title and an automatic berth to the state playoffs, only two postseason spots remain to be claimed by the logjam of three teams.
Since Meridian beat Nooksack Valley 42-14 on Oct. 5, Blaine beat Meridian 34-27 on Oct. 12 and Nooksack Valley beat Blaine 34-28 on Friday, Oct. 25, the tie can't be broken based on head-to-head records, meaning the teams will have to settle this on the field using the Kansas Tiebreaker.
The location of the 7 p.m. tiebreaker has been shifted to Civic Stadium.
Based on an earlier draw, Blaine and Nooksack Valley will meet in the first tiebreaker game. The winner of that game earns a postseason spot.
The loser of that game will then play Meridian in a second tiebreaker game. The winner of that game also earns a postseason spot, and the loser is eliminated.
If Meridian wins the second tiebreaker, it will then face the winner of the first to determine which team will be the No. 2 and which will be the No. 3 seed into the 1A Northwest District Playoffs. If Meridian loses the second tiebreaker, the winner of the first will be the No. 2 seed and the winner of the second will be the No. 3.
Seeding becomes important, because the No. 2 seed will host the district playoffs on Tuesday, Oct. 30. The No. 3 seed will play Coupeville in a half game scheduled for 6 p.m. that evening. The winner of that half game moves on to face the No. 2 seed in a second half game, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The winner of that second game will be the Northwest District's No. 3 seed to the tri-district playoffs and will travel to play the West Central District's No. 2 seed.
While Tuesday's playoffs will actually be half games, Saturday "games" will utilize tiebreaker rules that are similar to overtime rules in college and high school.
A coin toss at the beginning of each game will determine which team gets to choose to start on offense or defense.
Both teams will receive an opportunity to score starting from the 25-yard line. If the score remains tied after each team has a chance, a second set of series will start at the 25-yard line. If the score still remains tied, both teams will start at the 10-yard line and continue from that mark until a winner can be decided.
The Northwest Conference has previously utilized the Kansas Tiebreaker once in its seven years of existence, when it needed to break a tie between Squalicum, Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley for the final Class 3A playoff spot in 2006. Sedro-Woolley beat Mount Vernon 6-0 in the first tiebreaker and Squalicum 7-0 in the second to claim the spot in the 3A crossover playoffs.
NWC 1A TIEBREAKER
Time: 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27
Site: Civic Stadium
Game 1: Blaine vs. Nooksack Valley, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Loser of Game 1 vs. Meridian, 20 minutes after completion of Game 1
Game 3 (if Meridian wins Game 2): Meridian vs. Game 1 winner, 20 minutes after completion of Game 2 (for seeding)
NWC 1A TIEBREAKER PREVIEW
Time: 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27
Site: Civic Stadium
Borderites update: Blaine (6-3, 3-2 NWC 1A) suffered its second straight loss with a 38-24 setback at Nooksack Valley on Thursday, Oct. 25. Star running back Mario Gobbato was held to 76 yards on 23 attempts. It was the first time he was limited to less than 100 yards in 18 games since he rushed for 20 yards Nov. 5, 2010, against Granite Falls and the first time he was held to a single touchdown in a game since Oct. 7, 2011, by Burlington-Edison. With Gobbato relatively silent, Blaine turned to the passing game, as Nate Kramme threw for a season-high 177 yards and two touchdowns. Brett Allen was his top target with four catches for 62 yards and two TDs, though Isaiah Jackson caught five passes for 76 yards.
Pioneers update: Nooksack Valley (6-3, 3-2) completed its comeback from an 0-2 start to its NWC 1A season by beating Blaine 38-24 on Thursday to secure its place in the tiebreaker. After receiving news only minutes before kickoff that his grandfather had died, Nooksack Valley quarterback Tanner Myhre threw for a season-high 294 yards and four touchdowns in the game, marking the fifth time he surpassed 200 yards passing. Joey Scheffer caught eight passes for 123 yards and two TDs, while Bret Rediger snared four passes for 95 yards and a TD and NWC receiving leader Trey Handy finished with eight catches for 40 yards and a TD. Myhre also ran for 142 yards and a TD. The Pioneers are attempting to qualify for the playoffs for a seventh straight year.
Trojans update: Meridian (5-4, 3-2) dropped its second game in three weeks with a 30-8 loss at Mount Baker on Thursday. The Trojans allowed only a field goal in the first half, but four Jake Schleimer touchdown runs in the second put the game away. Quarterback Max McGuinn completed 25 of 38 pass attempts but only for 157 yards and no TDs. McGuinn ran for the Trojans' only touchdown in the fourth quarter. Seven different Trojans receivers logged a reception, led by Trevin Todd's eight catches for 41 yards and Relijah McMillen's seven catches for 39. Junior Castro is the Trojans' top running back with 446 yards and a TD on 90 carries this year. The Meridian defense held Schleimer to 42 yards rushing on nine carries in the first half, but he finished with 169 on 16 carries.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.