Playoff positioning paramount

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 22, 2009

With three teams in The Messenger’s coverage area getting ready to head to the playoffs in just two short weeks, fans, coaches and players alike are no doubt dreaming of a November to remember.

However, before November gets here, these teams must first finish off the final two weeks of October.

And while playoff games cannot be won two weeks before they are played, the games that take place in October go a long way towards deciding who will be in an advantageous position come playoff time.

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We know that Goshen, Pike County and Pike Liberal Arts are all going to have chances at state titles, but PCHS is the only one of the three that is guaranteed to have an advantage in week one of the playoffs.

The advantage I speak of is, of course, home-field advantage.

Now, home-field advantage does not guarantee a win, but it can go a long way.

In last year’s 108 first round games in the AHSAA and AISA playoffs, home teams posted an impressive 87-21 record.

And to be quite honest, I’m surprised the record isn’t a bit better.

Not only do teams playing at home get to stay in their normal routines while their opponents have to make travel plans that can sometimes take all day, but the home teams also enjoy getting to play in front of stands packed to the brim with their supporters.

I think everyone would acknowledge that Friday night football in Alabama can be intense, but the playoffs take it to a whole other level.

Also, let’s not forget that teams who earn home field advantage will play lower-seeded teams. These lower seeded teams aren’t bad teams by any means, but it’s a far cry between playing a 10-0 or 9-1 team and playing a squad that’s 5-5 or 6-4.

So, for Goshen and PLAS, this Friday night is huge. A win for either would put them playing at home come Nov. 6.

A loss, and they’re loading up the bus to play a top two seed.

So, if the Eagles and Patriots really want to make some noise in November, they had better take care of business on the fourth Friday in October.