The Houston High School football team has put itself in position to host a district game.

But understanding how that might happen is pretty complicated.

The easiest path to an additional game next week at Tiger Stadium would be winning Friday night at Liberty. The Tigers, currently seeded fifth in Class 2 District 3, would own head-to-head tiebreakers over the two teams –– Mountain Grove and Liberty –– ahead of them.

Lose and it gets tricky.

There are multiple scenarios that could play out that would have HHS potentially hosting its first postseason game since 2005 –– also the last time the Tigers (3-5, 3-3 South Central Association) defeated Liberty.

“I’m not smart enough to figure it out,” HHS coach Eric Sloan said. “It’s really complicated, and I don’t understand it. The best thing I know to do is get on MSHSAA’s website after the ballgame and as teams update their scores, you can get a pretty good idea where you’re sitting.”

{{tncms-inline alignment=”right” content=”<p>CLASS 2 DISTRICT 3</p> <p>1. Ava 8-0 49.96</p> <p>2. Strafford 6-2 41.50</p> <p>3. Mountain Grove 4-4 34.02</p> <p>4. Liberty 3-5 33.07</p> <p>5. Houston 3-5 27.91</p> <p>6. Cuba 2-5 24.65</p> <p>7. Willow Springs 1-7 16.75</p> <p>8. Diamond 0-8 14.98</p>” id=”fcf27e0f-69bf-433d-963f-afe250e9fe46″ style-type=”bio” title=”DISTRIST STANDINGS” type=”relcontent” width=”half”}}

The top two teams in the district appear to be locked into place.

Ava is 8-0 and should complete an undefeated regular season Friday against Willow Springs. Even an upset loss wouldn’t knock the Bears down enough for the field to catch up.

Strafford sits at No. 2 with a 6-2 mark and tough matchup against Ash Grove, also 6-2. But like Ava, the Indians are comfortably ahead of the rest of the district.

The shakeup could begin in the third slot as Mountain Grove (34.02) and Liberty (33.07) have nearly identical point totals. The Panthers host Thayer on Friday while Liberty hosts Houston.

In the fifth slot is HHS with 27.91 points. Trailing is Cuba with 24.65 points and a chance to gain ground tonight against Windsor (Imperial). The Wildcats will get extra points in the MSHSAA formula for playing a Class 4 school. A victory would also mean additional points.

Willow Springs is seventh with 16.75 points, followed by Diamond at 14.98 points.

MSHSAA determines district seeds based on a formula that includes wins and losses, playing teams from larger classes, strength of schedule, and the score of the game –– not to exceed plus- or minus-13.

There is also an “automatic switch” rule that says if two teams have played head-to-head and are consecutive seeds, they will be switched if the lower seed has beaten the higher seed. Houston has the head-to-head advantage over Mountain Grove and would also own it against Liberty with a win Friday night.

There are a number of scenarios that could have Houston as high as the third seed and as low as the sixth seed.

The Tigers need to be Liberty by 13 or more points to move ahead of the Eagles. In the fourth position, they would own the tiebreaker over Mountain Grove –– regardless if the Panthers beat Thayer or not.

An HHS loss by 13 or more points and Cuba victory or loss by three or few points would drop the Tigers to sixth. That would mean a return trip to Liberty the following week for a district opener in Mountain View.

If Houston loses to Liberty and Cuba loses by more than three points, the Tigers would stay in the fifth slot. If Liberty earned enough points to pass Mountain Grove and drop the Panthers to fourth, Houston would pass them based on the head-to-head regular-season victory. That would mean a district opener the following Friday at Tiger Stadium with Mountain Grove.

It all plays out Friday night.

“If we take care of business, we ought to host a game,” Sloan said. “If not, we put it in the formula’s hands.”


1. Ava 8-0 49.96

2. Strafford 6-2 41.50

3. Mountain Grove 4-4 34.02

4. Liberty 3-5 33.07

5. Houston 3-5 27.91

6. Cuba 2-5 24.65

7. Willow Springs 1-7 16.75

8. Diamond 0-8 14.98

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