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Playoff Qualifier Set for Bobcats

Ken MClemore

HOPE – The Hope Bobcats will get an opportunity to extend their football season Nov. 13 in a state playoffs qualifier fostered by the COVID-19 health crisis.

The Cats will face off against the Morrilton Devil Dogs at Morrilton for a berth in the Class 5A state playoffs. Game time is 7 p.m. and tickets will be available at https://gofan.co/app/events/149514 online only. A total of 400 tickets have been allotted for Hope.

Hope stands at 1-5 in conference play and 1-8 overall for 2020.

Morrilton lost its conference 5A West game Friday against Clarksville, 20-19, to drop to 3-5 overall and 3-3 in conference play.

The additional game opportunity was made possible by a provision in the 2020 Arkansas Activities Association Football Standings and Playoff Seeding Procedures agreed upon by participating schools at the beginning of the season. The protocol specifically addresses COVID-19 as a factor in playoff eligibility this year.

“Due to COVID-19, the following procedures are in place to provide opportunities for all teams possibly affected by missed conference games,” the protocol states. “If any team in a classification is NOT able to complete their conference schedule due to COVID-19, all teams in that classification will qualify for the playoffs with an option to opt out of the playoffs.”

Bracket selection will be determined, in descending order, by four components, including total number of conference wins, head to head results, average number of tie breaking points, and coin toss.

A so-called “play-in” bracket will also be developed for teams not qualifying for regular bracket placement using open lines in the regular bracket, but will be matched against lower seeded teams qualifying in the regular bracket. Random draws will determine the seeding order of matchups between “play-in” teams and low seed teams.

The Bobcats were dropped for a 42-7 loss Friday against Magnolia in Hope’s last regular season conference game.

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