Sitting in the second seat in the Class 1 District 5 standings heading into the final week of the Missouri high school football season, Scotland County controls its own destiny in the potential playoff bracket.
The Tigers will take on South Shelby at home Friday night to close out the regular season. The Cardinals (3-5) currently sit in the fourth seed in the standings, but depending on Friday night’s outcome, those seedings could flip flop or vary in great degree.
The Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) ranks the district teams for the playoff bracket based on a formula that factors in wins and losses, margin of victory and the strength of schedule of the team’s opponents.
Monroe City has locked up the #1 seed. The Panthers are 8-0, in a schedule that saw them play up versus five different class 2 schools this season en route to a 52.46 point total for district seeding.
Scotland County (5-3) currently sits in the #2 slot with a 36.9 score. SCR-I has produced the maximum margin of victory allowed in the formula (+13 points) in all five of its wins, while losing by just 3 points to Fayette and six to Westran, giving it an average margin of victory of 5.38. Teams get 20 points for wins and 10 points for loses, with an additional 10 points for playing up versus a bigger school. The 5-3 record has produced an average score of 16.25 for the Tigers. Marceline (8-0) added the largest strength of schedule total, the maximum 20 points to SCR-I’s score, with the average score of 15.28 for the Tigers. Combined those three point totals produce SCR-I’s score of 36.9.
Knox County currently is ranked #3 with a 35.59 score followed by South Shelby (32.52), Mark Twain (31.18), Paris (22.93), Schuyler County (22.73) and Louisiana (20.38).
SCR-I can lock up the #2 seed with a 13 point-win over South Shelby on Friday night, which would boost its playoff score to around 38.2
However if the Cardinals pick up the win, and do so with a margin of 13 or more, they could leapfrog into the #2 seed, as SCR-I would lose roughly 2.7 points while the Cardinals would gain close to 1.6 points, with the strength of schedule factor likely being the deciding factor, as wins by South Shelby’s opponents in the last week could boost its strength of schedule enough to give the Cardinals the edge.
Knox County travels to Fayette (6-1) for the two teams regular season finale. The Eagles will play a big role in the final seeding as well. A win by the full 13-point margin would boost Knox County’s playoff score by as much as 1.5 points, not enough to overtake SCR-I if the Tigers win, but more than enough to take over the 2nd seed if South Shelby beats SCR-I, allowing the Eagles to soar over the Cardinals for the #2 seed in that scenario.
A Knox County loss could drop it nearly 3 points in the standings depending upon the margin of defeat. That could be enough to drop the Eagles to the 5th seed if Mark Twain wins at Clopton on Friday.
The sixth through eighth seeds are locked into the bottom three positions in the bracket, but Paris and Schuyler County will be vying for the #6 seed. The Rams will play at Salisbury while Paris closes out the regular season at Westran, which appears to give the Rams the better shot at the #6 seed.