High School Sports

WEEK 9: Making the Call

Question: If Mount Baker and Bellingham win tonight, the Mountaineers and Red Raiders would tie Blaine with matching 3-3 Northwest Conference Class 2A records. Since each team has a 1-1 record against the other two, the Kansas City tie-breaker would have to be determined to decide with of the three teams would receive the Nos. 3 and 4 seeds into next week’s cross-over play-in games. What rules are there for the Kansas City tie-breaker?

In a three way tie-breaker situation one team gets a bye, which is usually determined beforehand by a coin toss. The winner of the first mini game then moves on to in the second, while the loser places third. The final two teams then play for the one or two seeds, or the winner moves on alone, depending on the situation.

Washington uses what is termed a “modified Kansas City tie-breaker”. The actual KC version is played from the 10-yard line entirely, while the modified version starts at the 35.

In the modified version, the game starts with a coin toss to determine the following choices for the winner of the toss: To go on offense, defense or to determine the end of the field to play on. The loser of the toss then selects the end of the field to be played on, unless the other team elected to chose the end of the field. This option in rainy or windy weather can be very important, particularly when the kicking game comes into question and may give one team an advantage.

Once decisions are made, the team on offense will start at the 35. The game clock is shut off, but the 25-second play clock is still in effect. The offensive team have the normal four downs to make 10 yards, which if accomplished gives them another four downs, etc., until they score or are stopped on downs. The team on defense will then get its chance starting from the 35 on the same end of the field. If during either sequence of downs the ball is turned over, the whistle blows and that team’s offensive turn has expired.

If the score remains tied at the end of one complete series (both teams getting a chance on offense) then a second set of the same options are given with the loser of the first set getting to choose. If after a second series the score remains tied, all options continue but we move to the 10-yard line for the remainder of the tie-breaker. Unlike college, there is no requirement to go for a 2-point conversion after two series.

Each team is given one time out during each period with no accumulation from previous overtime series — they either use it or lose it.

All other rules including penalty enforcements are in effect as in a normal game.