Republished from the Columbia Missourian
COLUMBIA — From the moment Rock Bridge’s last-second field goal attempt sailed left of the goal posts and ensured a Providence Bowl loss to Hickman, Bruins coach A.J. Ofodile knew his team might get a shot at revenge.
“I’m not a betting person,” Ofodile said after the Sept. 21 game, “but I have a sneaking suspicion the way our district sets up, we just might see the Kewps again.”
Four weeks later, Hickman (7-0) and Rock Bridge (5-3) are headed down the path to a possible rematch in the Class 6, District 3 postseason playoffs.
Bruins senior defensive tackle A.J. Logan would like nothing better.
“That means the world,” he said. “That’s everything right there. We want our shot at them. We know we were the better team in that game.”
Ofodile would like to avenge the loss, but he laughed at the idea of Rock Bridge looking past its final regular season opponent, Jefferson City High School.
“Would we like to play Hickman again? Yeah, but when you look at the situation realistically, our best opportunity to play Hickman again is to pour everything you have into this game,” he said.
Logan plans on doing just that, especially as time winds down on the Missouri commit’s high school football career.
“This whole season, I’ve been balls-to-the-wall, but now it’s just that extra pressure that I’ve only got two more games guaranteed to me, so I wanna make sure those aren’t my last two games,” Logan said.
Hickman currently ranks second in the district, between No. 1 Francis Howell and No. 3 Jefferson City. Rock Bridge is currently ranked fourth, followed by Fort Zumwalt West, Troy Buchanan, Timberland and Francis Howell Central.
Should the Bruins win this week, they would most likely surpass Jefferson City to claim the No. 3 spot. In all probability, this would set up a Rock Bridge-Hickman rematch if both teams could advance past the first round of the district bracket. (In this scenario, Rock Bridge would face the No. 6 seed and Hickman would face the No. 7 seed in the opening round.)
This is the first year of the Missouri State High School Activities Association’s new playoff system. Previously, the top two teams from each four-team district advanced to the playoffs. Now a formula is used to determine the seedings for the eight-team district tournaments, and while it’s not quite as complex as a BCS computer program, you might want to go find your calculator.
The number of “points” a team has is determined by adding the totals of three categories.
Category One: A team gets 20 points for a victory, 10 for a loss and 15 for an overtime loss. Add these all together, and you get A. Divide A by the number of games a team played, which we’ll call B.
Category Two: A team’s strength of schedule is determined by adding up the win-loss points total for each school a team has played. Subtract A from this total, and you get C. Now add up the total amount of games played by a team’s opponents. Subtract B from this total, and you get D. Divide C by D.
Category Three: A team’s margin of victory is determined by adding together the margins (positive points for wins and negative points for losses) from each game. However, the margin attributed to each game is capped at plus or minus 13 points. This total is then divided by B, the total number of games a team played.
That means a Rock Bridge win over Jefferson City should be enough for the Bruins (currently at 36.94 points) to overtake the Jays (currently at 40.45 points) for the No. 3 seed. If the Bruins lose, they could fall as low as No. 6. A special clause allows Rock Bridge to appeal if they find themselves one spot below a team they defeated this season (in this case, Fort Zumwalt West) at the end of the regular season. The other six coaches in the district would vote and four approvals would be needed for a successful appeal.
Hickman currently trails Francis Howell by 2.39 points (47.33 to 44.94), so even with a hypothetical Kewpies victory over Rockhurst (6-2) and a Francis Howell loss to Christian Brothers College (8-0), Hickman will need a lot of luck to claim the top seed in the district.
Long story short, if Rock Bridge can pull off a win in the state capitol, the Bruins and Kewpies are on the path to fulfilling Ofodile’s prediction: a rivalry rematch.