Fox Creek football coach Russ Schneider kept receiving texts from curious players. Who’s next?
But instead of preparing for a state playoff game last week, the Predators (6-4) were finished. The point system kept them out of the Class A, Division I bracket.
The last team in, Upper State No. 8 seed Southside Christian, went just 3-7. But it finished third in a four-team region with a 1-2 record and earned eight points. Fox Creek went 3-3 to finish fourth in its seven-team region, receiving five points.
Though single-game results add points, the region finish proved to be the difference.
Also, because the playoffs are split into two divisions based on school size, Ridge Spring-Monetta and Blackville-Hilda qualified for the Division II playoffs, even though they lost to Fox Creek and finished behind it in the region.
“We’re not going to point fingers and blame people,” Schneider said. “We’re going to make it the most positive we can – we had a winning season.”
Schneider said the responsibility for missing the playoffs falls on him, adding his team knew the system before the season began. He said another win would have assured the playoffs.
What bothered Schneider the most was the lack of closure. Normally, a team will know ahead of time which game could be their last.
The playoff surprise meant Schneider didn’t get to take the seniors in the end zone and have one final “thank you” chat after a game.
“It’s a chance for me to thank them for everything they’ve done for the program,” Schneider said. “I hate missing that opportunity as much as the playoffs.”