Athletic directors and principals from Group 3A East schools have voted to change the postseason format for football starting this season.
Previously, 3A East hosted a 16-team tournament that included all teams from the region. The new format will split the single 16-team tournament into two, eight-team tournaments.
The reasoning behind the change is a combination of geography and money: Teams complained of spending too much money to travel to games too far away.
Under the new playoff format, conferences will play one another based on proximity. In one tournament, the top eight teams from Conferences 25 and 27 will play, while the top eight teams from Conference 26 and 28 will play in another tournament.
Locally, the changes will affect Warhill, York and Tabb, which is dropping from Group 4A into Group 3A starting in the 2015-16 season. Conversely, Lafayette will not be affected by the changes after moving up from Group 3A to Group 4A.
This season, Warhill High remains in Conference 25, while York and Tabb high schools move into Conference 27.
The winners of these two tournaments will be declared co-champions of 3A East and will advance to play in the state tournament against 3A West teams.
In lieu of a head-to-head championship game to decide state tournament seeding, the team with more power points — a Virginia High School League formula that ranks teams based on results throughout the season — will advance as the top team from 3A East.
The power points formula takes into account wins against stronger or bigger programs and losses against smaller or weaker schools. For example, a 3A team defeating a 6A team would earn that school more power points than if a 3A team defeated a 1A team.
Warhill Athletic Director Dan Mullen said the school voted in favor of the new format and supported the logic behind making it.
“As a member, we had to look at what’s good for our team,” he said. “The 3A East region is one of the largest geographic regions. I think we looked at geographically, how can we do this so teams aren’t traveling over ‘x’ number of hours.”
To see area football schedules for the upcoming season, click here.