Let the playoff math insanity begin

With the Region 9 family back together for the first time since 2014, we shouldn’t have expected anything less than what we have heading to the final week of football’s regular season.

There are four teams – Cedar, Pine View, Snow Canyon and Desert Hills – fighting for just three spots after last week’s games were completed. Whoever comes out of the chaos as the No. 2 seed will stay home for the opening round.

Cedar had its fate in its own hands, but the offense went back into slumber mode in a 17-3 loss at home to Pine View. They’ll have a tough task ahead as they face Dixie on Thursday. The Flyers have already clinched the Region 9 title and No. 1 seed with last week’s win over Desert Hills.

The Panthers are also finishing up the regular season at home against winless Canyon View. The Falcons allowed only a touchdown to Snow Canyon two weeks ago, but haven’t scored in the last 11 quarters.

About the only thing that’s certain at this point is there won’t be four teams with the same record by the end of the day. Desert Hills will travel to play the Warriors, and the loser could be out of the playoff picture altogether.

That said, here is my highly unofficial – and probably wrong – prediction for clinching scenarios.

-Pine View has the best chance to be the No. 2 seed as long as they beat the Falcons. Canyon View hasn’t scored a point since the opening drive against Desert Hills on Sept. 22 – a stretch of 11 full quarters – and has just 52 on the season.

The Panthers would own any tiebreakers with everyone but Snow Canyon. The Warriors beat them 27-20 on Sept. 15.

-Snow Canyon shook off its offensive slumber last week with a 41-14 rout over Hurricane. If they can beat the Thunder – who are the defending 3AA champions – they’ll be the No. 2 seed as long as Dixie beats Cedar.

-Cedar would need a win over Dixie and losses by both Pine View and Desert Hills to secure the No. 2 seed. If the Panthers and Thunder post wins and Cedar loses, the Redmen will either be the No. 4 seed (they beat the Warriors and own the tiebreaker) or have to settle things with a play-in game.

Due to press deadline, the official scenario won’t be available until after all the games have been played. Watch this space next week for the final word.

-Desert Hills clinches the No. 2 seed with a win over Snow Canyon and a Pine View loss. With their win over Cedar, the Thunder would be seeded no worse than third if the Panthers beat Canyon View.

If Desert Hills falls to the Warriors, they could also be involved in a potential play-in game, but that’s to be determined.

Welcome to chaos theory, high-school football edition.

-The field of 15 is set in saddle bronc for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas that begins a week later than in years past. The 2017 edition will run from Dec. 7 to Dec. 16 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

There will be two fewer members of Milford’s Wright family competing this time around. After six advanced to last year’s NFR, only four made it into the field.

Brother-in-law CoBurn Bradshaw of Beaver was the highest finisher in third overall. He’ll head to Las Vegas having made $124,115 to date.

Ryder Wright set the WNFR on its ear last season by winning the first four rounds after qualifying 14th. This time around, Cody’s son starts eighth in the standings with $99,361 in winnings.

Jake Wright begins 10th with $91,744 won, and Jesse Wright – who won the gold buckle in 2012 – qualified 14th with $76,630. Cody Wright finished 17th with $69,693, about $6,000 short of No. 15 Audy Reed, and Rusty was well behind in 22nd overall.

As was the case last year, Jacobs Crawley of Boerne, Texas leads everyone with $183,927, more than $13,000 in front of defending champion Zeke Thurston of Big Valley, Alberta. Thurston won a first-place check at the Parowan PRCA stop on Labor Day weekend.

Don’t let anyone’s money totals fool you. With more than $26,000 available to the winner of each performance at the WNFR and another $67,000 waiting for the winner of the average across all 10 nights, any of the 15 cowboys can win a gold buckle.

-Local update: Cedar High grad John Ursua (2012) caught only one pass for 14 yards in Saturday’s 37-26 home win over San Jose State, but the sophomore is in the top 10 in receiving yards in Division I. In six games, Ursua has 47 catches for 667 yards with five touchdowns, good for No. 7 overall.

And SUU alum Miles Killebrew was involved in one of the stranger NFL games I’ve seen or heard about in my lifetime. The Detroit Lions trailed the New Orleans Saints 45-10 midway through the third quarter, but somehow got within a touchdown on the road with 6:41 to play.

In the end, a third defensive touchdown – a Cameron Jordan interception in the end zone – gave the Saints a 52-38 victory. Detroit fell to 3-3 on the year and has had to rally from big deficits the last two games.

Not a good sign after an optimistic 3-1 start. If you’re already operating from behind, it makes a winning attitude that much harder to have.

Follow Tom Zulewski on Twitter @TommyZee81 or email tominator19@yahoo.com.

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