New Virginia high school football playoff breakdown

The format for the revamped Virginia football state playoffs with respect to the modified six-class classification model was released Tuesday. As has been the case in the past, the teams that qualify for the playoffs will be determined by the Virginia High School League’s power rating point system, which is total power points divided by games played. Here is how each bracket will be formatted:

Group 6A (32 teams qualify)

— North: Top 16 teams seeded by power rating regardless of conference (formerly known as districts) and will not cross bracket in state semifinals.

South: Top eight teams in each section (Conference 1 & 2 – top eight; Conference 3 & 4 – top eight) with final four in region then reseeded and will not cross bracket in state semifinals.

What this means: The state semifinals will determine the North and South region champions, who will advance to face each other in the state final. While all traditional Northern Region 6A teams are in the 6A North, the Prince William County teams are split between Conferences 4 (South) and 8 (North). Therefore, two traditional Northwest Region teams, such as Hylton and Patriot, could conceivably face off in the 6A state final.

Host B.J. Koubaroulis runs through the top plays from the weekend of football in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area. (Nick Plum for Synthesis/Koubaroulis LLC./The Washington Post)

Group 5A (32 teams qualify)

— North: Top 16 teams seeded by power rating regardless of conference (formerly known as districts) and will not cross bracket in state semifinals.

— South: Top eight from Central Conferences bracketed together and top eight from Eastern Conferences bracketed together. The final teams from each bracket meet in state semifinal, which will not cross bracket.

What this means: The state semifinals will determine the North and South region champions, who will advance to face other in the state final. All traditional Northern and Northwest Region 5A teams are in the 5A North, meaning Stone Bridge could face off against 5A newcomer Briar Woods in the state semifinals or prior to that.

Group 4A (32 teams qualify)

— The top sixteen teams from both the North and the South will be seeded by power points regardless of conference and the state semifinals will not cross bracket.

What this means: North and South teams have the potential to face each other at any point during the playoffs, making travel a factor. For instance, teams such as Woodgrove and Loudoun County could have to make a trip of more than 100 miles to face a team like Charlottesville for an early-round game.

Groups 1A, 2A and 3A (32 teams qualify from each class)

— The top sixteen teams from the East and the West will be seeded by power rating regardless of conference and the state semifinals will cross bracket.

What this means: In one state semifinal, the top remaining seeded team from the East will face the lowest remaining seeded team from the West. In the other state semifinal, the top remaining seeded team in the West will face the lowest remaining seeded team from the East. The winners will advance to play in the state finals, where a 1A, 2A and 3A champion will be crowned.

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