Two 9-1 teams fall short of playoffs

Richmond, VA (WWBT)- When the Division 6 Central Region playoffs kick off this Friday, two of the best teams from that region will be sitting at home.  Despite have 9-1 records, Meadowbrook and Cosby fell short of this year's postseason, and now some are examining the current playoff format the region uses.

While most regions across the commonwealth opt for a six or eight team playoff, the Central Region goes with four in both Division 5 and Division 6.  District champions from the four districts that make up the region are given automatic bids, and all the winners this year came from Division 6.  Thomas Dale won the Central District and was 7-0 in District play, but lost its three non-district games and finished the regular season 7-3.  Dale, however, beat Meadowbrook, which turned out to be the Monarchs' only loss of the year, as they finished 6-1 in the district.  Since all four district winners were from Division 6 and earned automatic spots, Thomas Dale took the Central District's automatic bid, leaving Meadowbrook without a playoff spot.  This troubles Monarch's head coach Troy Taylor, whose team boasts the top spot in the VHSL Division 6 Central Region power rankings and is also ranked fifth in the state.

Cosby suffered a similar fate.  The Titans shared the Dominion District title with L.C. Bird, but Bird beat Cosby in the regular season and had more points at the end of the season, earning the district's automatic bid.  Both teams finished 9-1, but due to the limited amount of playoff spots, Cosby will not be taking the field in the postseason.

Both Taylor and Cosby head coach Pete Mutascio would like to see some sort of playoff expansion.  Regional athletic directors have voted on expansion several times before, but expansion was voted down.  Some of the expansion motions have been tied in with things such as regional scheduling, which some of the local athletic directors are not in favor of.  Regional scheduling would mean that a team's non-district games would be decided at random by a third party or system, meaning that a squad would face different opponents for non-district games each year.  Currently athletic directors and coaches are permitted to figure out their own non-district schedules.  Other concerns among some local athletic directors is natural rivalries with non-district opponents, which regional scheduling would essentially eliminate.

Varina head coach Stu Brown thinks it's time that the Central Region catches up with the other regions across the state, but he also pointed out that there are some pros to one less game.  Brown says that playing one more playoff game can be more taxing to the other regions, but still feels the Central Region is due to expand.

"I proposed on several occasions that the Central Region go to the expanded playoff format,"said Cosby athletic directors Ted Salmon.  "I am in favor of an eight team playoff in each division, because it makes the most sense when moving your schedule up one week.  I do intend on proposing it again."

L.C. Bird Director of Student Activities Chuck Thomas agrees.

"I'd like to see it happen," he said.  "I just feel there are good teams every year that miss the playoffs. I feel for these kids who are on teams with only one loss and still miss the playoffs."

"A concern of some people in 2009 was voting for both expanded playoffs and regional scheduling," Hermitage athletic director Chris Rollison added. "If the two were paired together again, I would vote it down, but if the vote was just for expanded playoffs, I would vote in favor of it."

The Central Region athletic directors are expected to examine the matter of expanded playoffs again in the future.  At this point, nothing could take effect until 2013.

The Central Region playoffs kick off on Friday night.

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