By Adam C. Warner
It’s hard to believe that the time has come already, but it's playoff season for several states across the country this weekend.
After Alaska wrapped up its football season last weekend with state titles earned by Service (Large School) and Soldotna (Small School), the states of Arizona, Indiana, and North Dakota will begin postseason action starting Friday night.
In the Hoosier State, the 36th annual State Tournament Series commences with sectional playoffs on Friday, featuring first round action in all five classes (A-5A) – which includes 40 sections and 317 total teams.
Semifinal action gets underway on October 31 and then sectional championships will be played on November 7 for every class. The regional playoffs will follow on Nov. 14, followed by Semi-States on Nov. 21 and then the State Championships on Nov. 28 and 29 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
In 4A, Roncalli has been to the title match four of the last six years and will once again be a tough matchup for anyone despite a 5-4 overall record. In 3A, Indianapolis Bishop Chatard has won the last two titles behind coach Vince Lorenzano. At 8-1 overall this season, the Trojans will be strong candidates to make it back to the big dance.
In 2A, Fort Wayne Bishop Luers hopes to win back-to-back titles since Tri-West Hendricks did it in ’03 and ’04. And in Class A, Sheridan has won the last three championships and will likely be favorites to make it four this time around.
Moving to playoff action in Arizona this weekend, only Class 1A football will get underway, with every game being played at the higher seed starting at 7 PM. Quarterfinal games commence next Friday, Oct. 31, with the semifinals set for Nov. 8 and then the championship on Nov. 15 at Apache Junction High School.
Meanwhile, the State Championships for 4A and 5A football will be held on Dec. 12 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. The semifinals will be held on Dec. 5, quarterfinals on Nov. 21, and then first round action set to go on Nov. 14.
And finally in North Dakota play this weekend, 9-man football continues with second round action, while Division A (11-man) competition kicks off around the state on Saturday.
The first round of the Div. AA and AAA playoffs commence next week, leading up to the Dakota Bowl (Finals) in Grand Forks on November 14 and 15.
So while it still may be early for most, future champions across the country will begin their march towards a lifelong dream this weekend.
Let the games begin.