High school football district playoffs opened this past Friday across Missouri and this year there were more No. 16 seeds winning games in the NCAA Tournament than No. 8 seeds winning in the MSHSAA playoffs.
No. 1 seeds swept No. 8 seeds for a 36-0 record while averaging a winning margin of 47.6 points. Two teams forfeited games and the average amount of regular season wins by an eight seed in the playoffs was just over one win.
It was almost just as bad for No. 2 seeds playing No. 7 seeds. Two seeds won 35 of 36 games with the lone win coming from Blue Springs North in a 35-14 win over Troy Buchanan. No. 2 seeds beat No. 7 seeds by an average of 36 points.
So why does every team make the playoffs in Missouri?
MSHSAA communications director Jason West told the News-Leader the question is pretty common but in the past, the lopsided scores were happening anyway.
West said the current system has been in place for the last six seasons. Before, the system was set up to where the last few games of the regular season were district matchups.
So the No. 1 seeds still played No. 8 seeds, but just during the regular season.
“The big scores haven’t really changed,” West said. “It’s just more concentrated.”
West said the move to the current district playoff format was to have an actual district tournament and to align with other MSHSAA sports with the same setup.
MSHSAA — being a nonprofit — doesn’t make money off of tickets at district playoff games. West said the host school gets 60 percent of ticket sales while the visiting teams get the other 40.
While safety concerns could be a thought with the lopsided wins, West said the move to the current format did have player safety in mind.