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OSSAA Expands Football Playoffs

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The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) approved a proposal on Wednesday from the Oklahoma Football Coaches Association and the Oklahoma Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association to add four teams to the playoffs in Classes 6A-I and 6A-II.

As a result, each of the two districts in 6A-I and 6A-II will have six of the eight teams qualify for the playoffs instead of four. The top two teams in each district will receive a bye and advance directly to the quarterfinals.

Last year Ponca City finished 4-6 (3-4 in district play) and would have qualified under the new proposal. Ponca City has finished fifth in its district the past three years.

“After sleeping on the playoff expansion decision, I have mixed feelings,” said Ponca City head coach Scott Harmon. “On one hand we have finished fifth in our district three consecutive seasons. We are on the verge of getting into the top four and making the playoffs in the old format. On the other hand, the 3-6 and 4-5 seed matchups in the first round will be an interesting change in my opinion.”

“6A-II changes quite a bit with ADM (Average Daily Membership) every two years, so depending on who is at the top and bottom of the class will really have a big impact on this format,” said Harmon.

“I am kind of old school and wish we would have left it the way it was, but I am not afraid of change either.”

These changes will result in the 6AI and 6AII playoffs returning to four weeks instead of three. Another result of the change is that the semifinals will be moved to Thanksgiving week instead of being held a week earlier, and the extra week before the championship game is eliminated.

All of those changes are effective starting with the upcoming 2022 season.