Wednesday, October 17, 2018

MIAA Football: Five Games with the Biggest Postseason Implications

Lincoln-Sudbury is hoping to hold-off Reading and clinch a top-two seed in Div. 2 North

By Matt Feld (@Mattyfeld612)

Throughout the MIAA regular season, we have released every Wednesday our top five games to watch during the upcoming week.

With this being the final week of the MIAA High School Football regular season, however, we thought we would take a different approach and take a look at the five games that carry the largest postseason implications heading into the final weekend.

While the teams headed for the postseason are determined in almost every section across the state, battles for top four seeding and even home-field advantage throughout can be found in games being played in all four districts.

The MIAA will release the tournament pairings for the North and South on Sunday morning at 10am and SuiteSports will be there to post the seedings, schedule, and provide initial reaction for all eight divisions.

Until then, however, here are our five games that carry the biggest postseason weight this week.

No. 24 Nashoba at Wachusett, Friday 7pm

The postseason in Central and Western Mass. does not start for another two weeks due to the fact that there are fewer teams in each bracket than there are out in Eastern Mass and there is the extra semi-final game that gets played.

Still, this game holds immense weight for both teams. For Wachusett, it gives them the chance to not only secure a top-four seed, but potentially pass both Shrewsbury and St. John's by season's end and move into the No. 2 slot.

Nashoba, meanwhile, not only has to face a tough Wachusett squad this week but an even more dangerous team on offense in Shrewsbury next week. They currently hold the top seed in Div. 4 Central with room to spare. Its not imperative that they win both matchups, all they need is a split. The Chieftains, however, can save themselves from sweating it out week eight with a victory this week.

This game has the chance to go a long way towards determining how the Div. 3 and 4 playoffs in Central Mass. shakeout.

Attleboro at Franklin, Friday 7pm

Division 1 South is a bit of a blood bath this season with Xaverian and Needham controlling the top two spots, but seeds three through eight still largely undetermined.

Both Attleboro and Franklin would love the opportunity to both open at home and avoid a potential trip to five-time defending South champion Xaveran in the Sectional Semi-Finals.

The latter will require some help, but whoever emerges with a win will almost certainly acquire the requisite points to leapfrog Brockton and into the number four spot in Div. 1 South. The loser, depending on the outcome of BC High-Xaverian this week, could fall as far as eight.

No. 4 St. John's Prep at Bridgewater-Raynham, Friday 7pm

Thus far, Bridgewater-Raynham has not had the season it usually accustomed to experiencing. At 2-4, the Trojans currently hold the No. 7 seed in Div. 2 South but are in danger of potentially missing out on the postseason if they fall once more.

Conversely, a win over the Prep would be a huge confidence booster going into the always wide-open Div. 2 South playoffs. Not only does a victory solidify a playoff berth, but the Trojans could potentially move towards the fifth slot.

The Prep, meanwhile is a in a tight race in Div. 1 North competing with Everett and Acton-Boxboro for the top two spots. A win gives the Eagles a legitimate chance to secure home-field advantage throughout the North sectionals while a loss all but cements their position at number three.

North Attleboro at Canton, Friday 7pm

There is plenty on the line here that goes beyond postseason positioning. With a win Friday, Canton would finish the regular season with a perfect 7-0 record and claim the Davenport title outright.

The Bulldogs also find themselves in the middle of a battle in Div. 5 South. Falmouth holds the top spot, but leads Canton by a mere 0.67 ratings point. Third-seeded Scituate is just 2.2 overall points behind Canton with undefeated Holliston right behind.

While a win for Canton would give them a league title, it would also give itself the chance to finish with the number one overall seed in the section.

North Attleboro finds itself in the middle of all the madness in Div. 3 South after falling to Stoughton last week. The Red Rocketeers currently hold the fifth seed, but a win over Canton could potentially surge them all the way into the third slot depending on the outcome of the Walpole-Needham game.

A loss, however, could drop North Attleboro down to the number-seven slot and set up a first round road game with Hingham.

Wayland at No. 9 Lincoln-Sudbury, Friday 7pm

Coming into the season this may not have been a game many figured would have postseason implications, but sure enough the end result here is huge for both sides.

Wayland sits at 5-1 and is currently the number four seed in Div. 4 North. An upset win over Lincoln-Sudbury, however, would give Wayland so many points (25) it could surge them into the number two slot.

No. 9 Lincoln-Sudbury is unlikely to catch North Andover for the top-seed in Div. 2 North. The Scarlet Knights would need to lose, and Lincoln-Sudbury also needs significant other help.

That being said, Reading currently resides just one point behind L-S for the number two spot, so a win for the hosts on Friday is critical to guarantee home-field up until the sectional final.

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