With it being a little more than halfway through the 2022 high school football season, the Southwest Washington District 4 playoffs are starting to take shape. And, as difficult as it was for Cruisers fans to swallow the Eatonville loss against Montesano, there is potentially more difficult news on the horizon.
With the loss to the Bulldogs on Oct. 7, Eatonville is no longer in contention to claim the Evergreen Conference title for a second straight year or secure a No. 1 seed into the district playoffs. The best finish the team can achieve is second place in the league and a No. 2 seed in the playoffs.
Eatonville will need to accomplish a few things for that to happen, however.
First, the Cruisers will need to win their remaining league games against Elma and Hoquiam. If they can do that, they will also need Montesano to defeat the Tenino Beavers when the two teams meet Friday. A win by Tenino in that game would result in a three-way tie with Eatonville and Montesano (this scenario assumes all three teams win their remaining conference games).
A three-way tie would require a tie-breaker to determine a league champion. The Evergreen Conference tie-breaker system works as follows:
• The first tie breaker is head-to-head play. If Tenino beats Montesano, this would be null and void and it would go to the next tie-breaker, which is points differential.
• For points differential, officials would calculate the number of points a team won or lost to the other two opponents, with a maximum of 14 points. For example, if Montesano beat Eatonville by 21 points, with 14 points being the maximum used in the tie breaker, Montesano would be a plus-14, and Eatonville would be a minus-14.
• If Montesano beats Tenino and defeats Elma, Montesano would claim the league title and the No. 1 seed, Eatonville would take the No. 2 seed, and Tenino the No. 3.
• If Montesano loses to Tenino but defeats Elma, Montesano would claim the league title and the top seed, Tenino would be the No. 2 seed, and Eatonville would receive the No. 3 seed.
• Below is what needs to happen for Eatonville to secure second place and the No. 2 seed:
Eatonville: Defeat Hoquiam and Elma;
Montesano: Defeat Tenino and Elma;
Tenino: Lose to Montesano;
If all of that happens, Eatonville will finish in second place in the Evergreen Conference and will be awarded the No. 2 seed into the district playoffs. The Cruisers would host the Trico League's No. 3-seed in Week 10.
The Cruisers will finish out their regular season schedule with an away game at Elma at 7 p.m. Saturday. This game was originally scheduled for Friday but was moved a day because of a referee shortage.
Following that game, Eatonville will host the Hoquiam Grizzlies for Eatonville's Senior Night at 7 p.m. Oct. 27. Senior Night recognition usually begins between 6:30 and 6:45 p.m.