MAIS moving to power point playoffs

Published 12:01am Thursday, June 6, 2013

NATCHEZ — The North and South divisions in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools are no more — at least when it comes to the prep football playoffs.

The MAIS recently adopted a new playoff system based entirely on a power point scale, which seeds teams according to their strength of schedule. Prior to this coming season, the power point system was used to determine homefield advantage, but playoff seedings were divided into North and South State, with teams from either division not seeing each other until the state championship round.

A total of 16 teams in the Single- and Double-A MAIS classifications will make the postseason, and district championships and strength of schedule will be used to determine higher seedings. The Triple-A division will remain unchanged. Adams County Christian School headmaster and head coach David King was on the committee that adopted the new system and said it would allow his players to see schools they’re not used to playing.

“Let’s face it — Centreville, Brookhaven, Trinity, Oak Forest, Simpson — the same schools are in the playoffs every year in the South, and they’re playing each other,” King said. “Now, say the No. 1 seed is Brookhaven Academy, and the No. 16 might be someone in North Delta, and they had never been to Brookhaven’s campus, so it’ll be a chance to expose yourself to new teams.”

King also said the South had traditionally been a tougher division the last several years, making the South State title game a de facto state championship game. The new format does away with that issue, King said.

“It was sort of unfair when you had three of your five best teams in the South and you had to play each other out,” King said.

Wilkinson County Christian Academy head coach David Wright, whose team plays in the Single-A classification, said the new format would be similar to what was done in Georgia, where he coached for many years.

“This format I’m more familiar with, except in Georgia it was 32 teams,” Wright said. “Having South State rivals was new to me last year.”

Winning non-district games all of a sudden became more important, Wright said, but winning games was already important before any changes were made to the postseason format.

“If you win ball games, everything else will pan out,” Wright said. “That’s what we did at WCCA last year. You have to take care of yourself and not rely on other people to help get you to the playoffs.”

The only disadvantage to the new format is for the lower seeds to potentially travel long distances in the playoffs, but Wright said he prefers having the chance to play a team he might not have played in the regular season.

“I don’t want to play Cenla the second week of the season and then see them again in the first round of the playoffs,” Wright said. “You may have to travel farther, but that’s OK. When you get to the playoffs, you expect to travel.”

Wright had already constructed a tough schedule for his team that includes ACCS, Central Private, Oak Forest and Tri-County Academy, which beat WCCA in the MAIS Class A state championship game last year. With the new format, Wright said the schedule would work to his team’s advantage.

“We have some chances to pick up some good power points,” Wright said. “Seeing good teams and coaches really helps you prepare, and players who want to play college football can go up against other college prospects. I think we can compete with them — I wouldn’t have scheduled them if I didn’t.”

King said he was unsure if other sports would eventually adopt the same postseason format as football. Trinity Episcopal Day School head coach Josh Loy was unavailable for comment.