Updated: Sep 29
SPORTSDESK - With the 2021 11-man high school football season 66% in the books, area teams can see the post season around the corner. Current WIAA rules indicate teams with a conference winning percentage over .500, more wins than losses, clinch a playoff spot. Teams with more losses than wins could still make the playoffs, should spots be available, and survive a series of tiebreakers.
Across the state, 224 teams will qualify for the playoffs and then will be sorted by school enrollment into seven divisions of 32 teams. Those teams will then set eyes on Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, which will host championship games on Nov. 18-19.
Here are, by projected division, the teams who have already punched their playoff ticket (in bold) and others with work to do.
Assumption (2-2) - The Royals haven't been to the playoffs since 2018 and now stand just a win away from a return. An upcoming forfeit vs. Almond-Bancroft plus a win against either Rosholt this week or at Loyal in Week 9 will do the trick.
Edgar (3-1) - A Week 9 Thorp forfeit has the Wildcats in the 2021 playoffs. Final two games vs. Auburndale (4-0) and Abbotsford (2-2) will decide playoff seeding.
Loyal (3-1) - The Hounds will likely need to beat Pittsville on Friday to get in. After that things get considerably tougher at undefeated and No. 9-ranked Pacelli and vs. Assumption.
Pacelli (4-0) - The undefeated Cardinals have outscored its opponents by a bicep-flexing 241-49. Pacelli finishes at Iola-Scandinavia, vs. Loyal, and at winless Wild Rose. Looks like three wins and a top-playoff seed for the Cards.
Pittsville (2-2) - Pittsville snuck by Rosholt two weeks ago 18-14 and received a forfeit win courtesy of 8-man defecting Almond-Bancroft. Now the tough job, find two wins in the final three games. Loyal (3-1), Wild Rose (0-4), and Iola-Scandinavia (4-0) are the selections.
Rosholt (2-2) - Giving credit for the upcoming Almond-Bancroft forfeit, the Hornets will need to beat both Assumption and Iola-Scandinavia to see the 2021 playoffs.
Abbotsford (2-2) - The Falcons were toppled last week at Auburndale and have likely lost the chance for a conference title. The playoffs are a certainty with two upcoming forfeit wins to put Abby at the needed four conference victories. A lone conference game remains at home against Edgar on Oct. 8.
Auburndale (4-0) - Just a year removed from its maiden voyage into 8-man waters, the Eagles have clinched an 11-man playoff spot. Auburndale will need to solve the Edgar Wildcats on Saturday in Edgar's Homecoming game and earn a win back home against Marathon to set up a potential conference title game at currently undefeated Colby in Week 9.
Colby (5-0) - It's been all roses for the Colby Hornets in 2021. Colby has only given up 21 defensive points while scoring 198. Only one contested conference game left for Colby, Week 9 at home vs, Auburndale.
Iola-Scandinavia (4-0) - The T-Birds are in the playoffs and now turn their attention to a conference championship. It's 4-0 Pacelli at home on Friday, watch live at zaleskisports.com.
Marathon (2-3) - Marathon will be given its third forfeit win on Oct, 15. A win against Auburndale on Oct. 8 and the Red Raiders are in the playoffs.
Amherst (4-0) - The come-from-behind Falcons? That has been the case this season with frantic finishes against Wittenberg-Birnamwood and Spencer/Columbus. Up next are games at Nekoosa and at home vs. Manawa. Should Amherst take care of those two, then it's Stratford at home to take the conference outright and lay claim to a top-playoff seed.
Stratford (3-1) - A disappointing 8-6 home loss to Wittenberg-Birnamwood has likely ended hopes of an outright conference championship for the Tigers. A win over the winless Weyauwega-Fremont squad this week puts Stratford in the playoffs.
Spencer/Columbus (2-2) - Two, two, we want two is the likely cheer from the Rockets' student section at the moment. S/C needs two wins to get into the playoff field and have at Manawa, at Stratford, and home vs. Shicoton to choose from.
Wittenberg-Birnamwood (3-1) - An 8-6 win at Stratford last week has the Chargers thinking playoffs in 2021. Needing a single win, W-B sees only three combined opponent wins to end the season with Shiocton, Weyauwega-Fremont and Nekoosa on the schedule.
Medford (3-1) - The good news? 1-3 Antigo and 1-3 Merrill are on the schedule for Medford with just one win needed for playoff participation. The bad news? Both games are on the road which can always be an extra challenge. Otherwise it's 4-0 Mosinee at home to seal a place in the postseason.
Mosinee (4-0) - Mosinee is in the playoffs after outlasting Lakeland 27-12 a week ago. The Indians now turn its sights to a conference championship with a home game against undefeated Rhinelander on Friday (live at zaleskisports.com). Mosinee last won a conference championship in 2012.
Rhinelander (4-0) - The Rhinelander Hodags have now entered the playoff chat. The biggest Rhinelander game in over a decade is at Mosinee on Friday (see above). Watch it live at zaleskisports.com.
Marshfield (2-2) - Travels to Appleton West on Oct. 1 and then finishes at Wisconsin Rapids and at home vs. SPASH. The Tigers need to win two of the three to make the playoffs.
DC Everest (2-2) - The Evergreens need just one win of its final two games due to an upcoming forfeit credit from Wausau East. Everest is at home to Wisconsin Rapids and then on the road at Hortonville.
Stevens Point (4-0) - With two WVC road games left at Wausau West and Marshfield, sandwiched around a forfeit win against Wausau East, the Panthers are playing for playoff seeding, and perhaps an undefeated conference championship.
Wisconsin Rapids (3-1) - After a 39-0 pounding of Hortonville last week, the Red Raiders need one win of its remaining three WVC games - at D.C. Everest, home vs. Marshfield, and at Appleton West.
Wausau West (3-1) - The Warriors crashed Marshfield's Homecoming party last week with a sound 18-3 win. One more win and it is in for West. The Warriors play at home vs. Stevens Point and Appleton West before ending the season at Hortonville.