Throw out the regular-season records because in Division II, the playoffs beckon.
In a division known for staging “Pre-Thanksgiving Madness” due to an eight-team field, the Div. II playoffs get underway this coming weekend with four quarterfinal-round matchups. For local entries Tolman, St. Raphael and Cumberland, the mission is clear – extend the season to Nov. 30, the date set aside for the semifinals.
In reality, only two of the three aforementioned teams will have the chance to play meaningful games the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. That’s because Tolman and Cumberland will lock horns Saturday night (7 o’clock kickoff) at Pariseau Field. Friday features St. Raphael traveling to Westerly to take on the Bulldogs.
How the seeds break down on the two sides are as follows: In Division II-B, West Warwick and Tolman finished with identical 6-1 records. The top seed and the division title were awarded to the Wizards on the strength of their head-to-head 33-19 win against the Tigers on Oct. 28.
The Saints secured the third seed by virtue of their 5-2 mark with Mt. Hope, a team that rebounded quite admirably from a forfeit loss, securing the fourth and final seed based on a 4-3 finish.
Sorting out the II-A faction wasn’t nearly as cut-and-dried. Like Tolman and West Warwick, Chariho won six of seven games to capture the division outright. The Chargers put the exclamation point on a successful regular season after posting a 20-14 overtime victory against Central on Friday.
The outcome at Conley Stadium touched off an eventual three-way tie between 5-2 finishers Central, Westerly and Cumberland, which fended off upset-minded Coventry, 14-12, its regular-season finale on Saturday. Initially, how seeds 2-4 were determined involved a tiebreaking procedure known as pool record. Under league bylaws, pool record is the first criteria the Interscholastic League employs whenever two or more teams sport the same win-loss mark.
The three teams in question in this mini-group – the Knights, Bulldogs and Clippers – all finished 1-1 against one another, thus forcing the next step – quality points. Based on a weighing scale in which teams, again according to RIIL regulations, are awarded one quality point for each league game won according to where the opposing team finished in the standings.
Based on this, it was determined that Westerly is the No. 2 seed in II-B followed by Cumberland (third) and Central (fourth). Westerly gets the nod based on its 16-0 shutout of Chariho on Sept. 16 with Cumberland’s third-place status rooted in its 19-6 win against Central on Oct. 28.
One side of the bracket includes Cumberland-Tolman and Mt. Hope-Chariho with the other side involving Central-West Warwick and St. Raphael-Westerly.