The AAA Northern Region Division 6 playoff bracket is raising some eyebrows this week. Determined by the Virginia High School League's power rating system, which takes into account a team's record and strength of schedule, top-seeded Oakton (8-2) finished ahead of the Concorde District's co-champions Westfield (9-1) and Robinson (9-1). Centreville (8-2), which beat Robinson, was left out entirely. Northern Region coaches spoke about their reactions to the bracket.
Q: What were your thoughts when you saw the bracket?
Mike Lalli, Chantilly: I would think that it's unfair that a team who has only one loss in the district gets seeded behind a team with two losses, but honestly I think that any one of the them could beat the other, as we saw this year.
Tommy Meier, Herndon: It seemed strange to me that it worked out that way. Westfield and Robinson were co-district champions, but neither was the No. 1 seed. I was really surprised to see that, and I'd bet a lot of other people were as well.
Q: Do you think the way things worked out were fair?
Lalli: You knew at the beginning of the year that you weren't going to get four teams from one district in, so you have to deal with that. We knew that we were going to have a situation like we do now, so I don't think anyone can be too upset.
Jim Poythress, Lake Braddock: As long as the districts are divided, there's never going to be a fair way to do things. If we had just lost to [Patriot District champion] Annandale and won all the rest of our games, we wouldn't have gotten in this year. I don't know what a fairer way to do it is. Centreville got left out this time, but we all knew the rules going into the season. That's the way the cookie crumbles.
Bill Renner, West Springfield: Everybody knew what the situation was at the beginning of the season. When you get into [strength of schedule] points, it just goes to show you just have to be really prudent about who you are going to play.
Q: Do you have any alternatives to the current system?
Poythress: It might work if you took all the Division 6 teams and put them in one district and all the Division 5 teams and put them in another district and had those teams only play each other. Then you would have some teams complain about strength of schedule, but it would at least be less confusing.
Renner: We're the only sport that doesn't take 16 teams to the region playoffs. I think you can play nine weeks, then rank the top eight teams and have them go at it. I think it's time to move forward with this and have it be more inclusive like other sports.
-- Liam Dillon