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Posted Friday, October 08, 2010 by By NATE HECKENBERGER, Special to the Local News


This article is for those of you who add "I think" to statements of where your team is ranked in the playoff standings, like you're trying to hide the fact that you have been calculating power points all along.

Fear not! As we roll into week 6, by all means is it OK to talk playoffs. Because, by all means, every game from here on out is magnified as teams try to leapfrog others on the board.

If the season ended today, five area teams would be playing in the postseason -- West Chester Henderson, Downingtown East and West Chester Rustin in Class AAAA and Bishop Shanahan and Octorara in 3A.

Sixteen 4A teams make the District 1 playoffs, while 8 qualify in Class AAA. And for those who don't understand the seeding process, a quick lesson: A win against a team in the same class (ex. Henderson over Chester) is worth 100 points. For every win Chester picks up during

the season, Henderson gains 10 more "power points." A win against a team "up" a class (ex. Shanahan over Avon Grove) is worth 120, and a win against a team "down" a class (ex. Henderson over Shanahan) is worth 80, with the power points remaining at 10.

Let's take a look at what we've seen the first half of the season and prepare for what have yet to see...

Ches-Mont League

National Division

Henderson has raced out to a 5-0 start for the second straight season and is one of five District 1 undefeated teams and one of 13 PIAA 4A schools in the state. Currently the Warriors sit tied for the No. 2 seed in the district, but they will certainly have their hands full once again in the final five games. Following a date with Downingtown West (2-3) tonight, Henderson must toil with West Chester Rustin (4-1) next Saturday and Downingtown East (4-1) on the final Friday of the regular season.

East is No. 7 at the moment and has won four straight after dropping the season opener to powerhouse Allentown Central Catholic (5-0). The Cougars' final five opponents have a combined record of 14-10.

Shanahan is the second-seed in Class AAA with the remaining scheduled teams holding an 11-14 record. The Eagles may be benefactors of playing a predominately 4A slate with those wins generating extra points. Coatesville (3-2), tonight, and East next Friday will loom large as the final three opponents have losing records.

As for the Red Raiders, they are on the outside looking in at the moment, sitting at No. 21. Another loss might not destroy their chances, thanks to their strength of remaining schedule, but two probably would. The Eagles and Warriors will be Coatesville's biggest tests.

The Whippets are currently tied for 31st, but if they win-out they have a good shot. Winning-out will be tough, though, as teams left on the schedule are a combined 19-6.

Ches-Mont League

American Division

Rustin, once again, is setting itself up for a playoff run. Right now the Golden Knights are tied at No. 11 with a pivotal matchup against Henderson eight days away. Aside from that, three Class AAA teams round out the schedule, making those playoff points against Henderson so huge.

Octorara, in its first year in the Ches-Mont, is 3-2 and the seventh seed in 3A. After a bye the Braves play two winnable games before two monsters -- Unionville and Rustin -- at the end of the season that could make or break them.

Unionville is 33rd and will be favored to win out with a 6-19 combined record of opponents coming up. That stat, along with the fact that three of the five teams are 3A, may prove fatal for the Indians who need major power points to climb.

Central League

Conestoga (3-2) is toeing the playoff line at No. 17, but No. 5 Ridley (5-0) is sitting in the way tonight. The Pioneers have lost to two potential playoff teams -- Garnet Valley (5-0) and Strath Haven (4-1) -- and will be favored in the final four games. No one has to tell John Vogan and his staff how important the Ridley contest is for their playoff livelihood.

So there you go. Now everybody can talk playoffs without shame! But you didn't hear any of this from me...

To contact correspondent Nate Heckenberger, e-mail hecky54@yahoo.com.

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