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November 9, 2008

Who's playing No. 1 Trinity? UIL rules its Marcus

Hanging chads. Rules interpretations. Aren't we supposed to go head-to-head whenever possible? Midnight calls to the UIL.

Who's got No. 1-ranked Euless Trinity?

That would be Flower Mound Marcus at 4 p.m. Saturday in a Class 5A Division I first-round game at Texas Stadium.

But not before a lot of discussion determined the playoff seedings in District 6-5A. The Associated Press reported late Saturday that Trinity would play Coppell in the first round.

Some local papers said Trinity was playing Marcus. The discrepancy came to tie-breaker interpretations ultimately by the UIL.

District 6-5A was won outright by Hebron. Southlake Carroll, Coppell and Marcus all were 3-2 and second place.

By UIL rules, Hebron and Southlake Carroll go to Division I with Hebron the top seed and SLC No. 2. No questions there.

So if Coppell and Marcus go to Division I, use their head-to-head to figure out the No. 1 and 2 seed, right?

The UIL constitution supports head-to-head whenever possible. Every coach I've ever talked to says all tie-breakers should be used to get a 3-way or 4-way tie down to a head-to-head decision if possible.

Well, the 6-5A executive committee _ and this actually isn't a rarity _ talked about using point-differential to decide tie-breakers and seeding. The committee decided that once they go to point-differential in tie-breakes they stay with point differentials. Again, that's not uncommon but it always creates this question when it's actually in place.

By point-differential, tie-breaker in 6-5A, SLC is No. 2 in district, Coppell No. 3 and Marcus No. 4. But if there's no need for a Division-deciding tiebreaker, just go to the head-to-head with Coppell and Marcus.

That's what Marcus and had the Lewisville athletic department were on the phone talking about to the UIL at midnight Saturday.

But the UIL always defers to local authority and the 6-5A tiebreaker was to stay with points.

That's why Coppell is the No. 3 seed and getting Justin Northwest at 7 p.m. Saturday. And, by 6-5A tiebreakers, Coppell is the higher seed than Marcus even though Marcus beat Coppell.

Boy, how big is that Coppell overtime win over Southlake Carroll now?

What difference does it make?

All the difference in the world. For the first round.

Marcus actually has a chance to power-up against Euless Trinity and play ball-control and hope for a big-play at the end. The winner gets the Plano-Duncanville winner in first round.

For Coppell, it's all the difference. A banged up Coppell defense has little chance against Trinity. Coppell has a great chance against Justin Northwest. The Texans' best and only win against a playoff qualier was over L.D. Bell... which is what got Northwest into the playoffs.

Coppell is undersized anyway and has been without inside linebackers Jared Parham and Nick Rice. Coppell did a great job moving some undersized DB-types to linebacker to get a wins over Lewisville and Flower Mound, but it takes beef against Trinity.

But the Coppell-Northwest winner has to play the Allen/South Grand Prairie winner in the second round. As long as Allen isn't looking ahead toward a third-round game against Permian, the Eagles should avoid another early round upset.





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