In Class 6-A, all-Louisville final a possibility in 2017
Used only for the Class 6-A football playoffs since 2011, cross-bracketing will become a part of the Class 5-A playoffs this fall and could be used in other classes starting in 2017.
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s Board of Control earlier this month finalized the plan for the 2016 football playoffs.
In classes A, 2-A, 3-A and 4-A, the format will stay as it’s been since 2011, with the first three rounds of the playoffs matching District One vs. Two, Three vs. Four, Five vs. Six and Seven vs. Eight.
But Class 5-A will move away from that format in 2016, with early-round pairings matching District One vs. Two, Four vs. Five, Three vs. Six and Seven vs. Eight. Matchups for 2016 in Class 6-A are District One vs. Three, Two vs. Four, Five vs. Seven and Six vs. Eight.
Proponents of cross-bracketing like the fact that teams aren’t forced to face the same teams early in the playoffs on a yearly basis. However, cross-bracketing can lead to more travel in the early rounds of the playoffs.
For example, Fern Creek faced District Three opponents Bullitt Central, North Bullitt and South Oldham in the first three round of the 2015 playoffs. In 2016, Fern Creek and its fellow teams in District Four (Fairdale, Doss, Southern, Iroquois and Atherton) will be matched against District Five (Highlands, Covington Catholic, Dixie Heights and Grant County).
Fern Creek coach Josh Abell said he didn’t have strong feelings either way about the switch.
“On one side, you’re not always stuck playing the same teams, and — let’s face it — some districts are not as good as other ones,” Abell said. “On the flip side, it will make planning and traveling more strenuous.”
In Class 6-A, the two Louisville-area districts (Three and Four) will be on the same side of the bracket in 2016 and 2018 but will be on opposite sides of the bracket in 2017, leaving the possibility of an all-Louisville final that year.
The Board of Control is considering cross-bracketing for classes 2-A, 3-A and 4-A for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, pending a survey of schools.
Here’s a look at the pairings for the 2017 and 2018 seasons in classes 5-A and 6-A:
* Class 5-A – District One vs. Two; Three vs. Five; Four vs. Six; Seven vs. Eight.
* Class 6-A – District One vs. Two; Four vs. Six; Three vs. Five; Seven vs. Eight.
* Class 5-A – District One vs. Two; Three vs. Four; Five vs. Six; Seven vs. Eight.
* Class 6-A – District One vs. Four; Two vs. Three; Five vs. Eight; Six vs. Seven.