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THE FRONT ROW with MARK NELKE: MaxPreps vs. the old way — how it played out in the fall

| November 25, 2021 1:30 AM

So how much did the MaxPreps ranking system affect how the fall state tournaments turned out in Idaho?

Well, let's see.

In soccer, seedings almost didn't seem to matter. Of the six total tournaments — three boys, three girls — only two top seeds won state titles. The other four were won by a No. 2 seed, a No. 3 seed and two No. 4 seeds.

In volleyball, the top seed won in five of the six tournaments.

In football, four of the six divisions used MaxPreps to seed their tournaments, and in only one did the top-seeded team win.

WE'LL START with soccer, the first sport to hold its state tournament this fall.

In the 5A boys tourney, No. 2 seed Timberline of Boise beat No. 5 Boise in the title game. Top-seeded Lake City lost to Boise in the semifinals, and fell to No. 6 Rocky Mountain in overtime in the third-place game. No. 3 Borah of Boise won the consolation title.

In 4A boys, No. 4 seed Bishop Kelly of Boise downed No. 3 Sandpoint in the title game. Top-seeded Jerome lost to BK in the semis, and beat No. 2 Hillcrest in the third-place game. No. 6 Canyon Ridge of Twin Falls took the consolation title.

In 3A boys, No. 3 seed Sugar-Salem defeated No. 5 McCall-Donnelly in the championship game. Top-seeded Sun Valley Community School went two-and-out. No. 7 Teton beat No. 8 Kimberly in the third-place game. No. 2 American Falls won the consolation title.

In the 5A girls tourney, No. 4 seeded Lake City beat No. 3 Boise for the state title. No. 1 Highland of Pocatello lost to Lake City in the semis, and fell to No. 2 Rocky Mountain in the third-place game. No. 5 Timberline won the consolation title.

In 4A girls, top-seeded Twin Falls beat No. 6 Vallivue of Caldwell in the championship match. No. 2 Skyline lost to Vallivue in the semis, then beat Bishop Kelly in OT for third place. Moscow, the No. 7 seed, won the consolation title.

In 3A girls, No. 1 seed Fruitland beat No. 6 Sun Valley Community School for the championship. No. 5 Sugar-Salem beat No. 7 Teton on penalty kicks in the third-place game. Coeur d'Alene Charter, the No. 2 seed, lost to Teton in the first round, but came back to win the consolation title.

STATE VOLLEYBALL was the next weekend.

In the 5A tournament, No. 1 seed Skyview of Nampa downed No. 3 Madison of Rexburg in the championship match. No. 4 Eagle was third, No. 2 Post Falls fourth.

In the 4A tourney, No. 3 Twin Falls beat No. 2 Bonneville of Idaho Falls for the title. Top-seeded Wood River was third, No. 5 Moscow fourth.

In the 3A tournament, No. 1 Sugar-Salem beat No. 4 Parma in the championship match. No. 3 Kimberly was third, No. 2 Fruitland fourth.

In the 2A tourney, Top-seeded West Side beat No. 2 Melba for the championship. No. 6 Nampa Christian was third, No. 8 Declo fourth.

In the 1A Division I tournament, No. 1 Troy beat No. 6 Grace in the title match. No. 4 Genesee was third, No. 2 Potlatch fourth.

In the 1A Division II tourney, Top-seeded Horseshoe Bend defeated No. 4 Rockland in the championship match. No. 2 Council was third, No. 3 Mackay fourth.

FOOTBALL JUST concluded last weekend.

The 5A teams did not use the MaxPreps rankings to seed their playoffs. Four of the 12 teams — the top two teams in the Boise area, as well as the top team in North Idaho and eastern Idaho — earned first-round byes.

Rigby, the top seed from eastern Idaho, beat Highland, the No. 2 seed in the east, in the title game. Highland had to play in the first round.

The other three teams who received first-round byes each lost their first playoff games — in the quarterfinals, on their home fields. Coeur d'Alene fell to Eagle, Rocky Mountain of Meridian was beaten by Highland, and Mountain View of Meridian fell at home to Meridian.

The 4A teams did use MaxPreps rankings to seed their 16-team tournament, with a twist — the five league champions earned seeds 1-5, based on MaxPreps rankings. Sandpoint, the top seed, lost to No. 6 Skyline of Idaho Falls in the state title game. Skyline was actually ranked third by MaxPreps following the regular season — when the seedings were set — but since Blackfoot earned the top seed out of Skyline's league, based on a win over the Grizzlies in league play, the best seed Skyline could receive was No. 6.

The 3As used MaxPreps to seed the six-team qualifying round, and the eight-team quarterfinals, with league champs automatically earning seeds 1-5.

Weiser, the overall No. 3 seed, beat No. 4 seed Sugar-Salem in overtime in the title game. Homedale, the top seed, was upended at home by Sugar in the semis. No. 2 Gooding lost at home to Weiser in the semifinals.

The 2As ran their playoffs similar to the 3As.

No. 1 seed West Side beat No. 3 Firth for the championship. No. 2 North Fremont lost at home in the semis to Firth.

The 1A Division I playoffs were seeded like the 2As and 3As.

Oakley, the No. 2 seed, beat No. 1 Raft River in the championship game.

The 1A Division II teams did it the old way, with playoff position based on district placing. Kendrick the District 2 winner, beat District 4 champ Carey for the title. Kendrick had a first-round bye, while Carey had to play in the first round.

IN AT least two instances, two North Idaho teams faced each other in the first round at state this year — where, under the old system of bracketing, they probably wouldn't have.

In 5A boys soccer, No. 1 Lake City opened vs. No. 8 Lewiston. And in 5A volleyball No. 2 Post Falls met No. 7 Lake City in the first round.

Next up — in a few months — is state boys and girls basketball, which will all be seeded by MaxPreps, and we're curious to see if seeding those tourneys the new way instead of, in most cases, district champ vs. district runner-up from somewhere else in the first round, affects how those tourneys unfold.

Until then ...

Mark Nelke is sports editor of The Press. He can be reached at 208-664-8176, Ext. 2019, or via email at mnelke@cdapress.com. Follow him on Twitter @CdAPressSports.