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Who's Ready For Some Kansas City Tiebreakers?
There will be four different Kansas City Tiebreaker events taking place Monday
Published: 10/24/2021 5:01:30 PM
Brandon Baney
Managing Editor/Broadcaster


The parity in high school football across the state of Idaho this year has reached an all-time high.  Entering the final week of the regular season, nearly 75 percent of teams still had a chance to qualify for the playoffs.  It's been a wild, unpredictable regular season, with surprising results and upsets seemingly occurring every single week.

The chaotic regular season will take the stage one final time Monday night, as several Kansas City Tiebreakers will take place.  The final postseason brackets in Class 5A, 3A and 1AD1 are being held hostage until these events are completed.

So what is a Kansas City Tiebreaker?  Essentially, it's a mini-scrimmage between two or more teams, similar to an early season jamboree.

The rules vary slightly.  Some tiebreakers dictate each team start at the 40-yard line.  Some start at the 35- or 25-yard line.  Some eventually move to the 10-yard line.  But the concept is the same.  

Team A plays Team B.  There is no clock, just like the college football overtime system.  Team A starts on offense, while Team B starts on defense.  If Team A scores, Team B then has to match that score for the round to continue.  If Team B doesn't score on their possession, then Team A wins the round.  Similarly, if Team B stops Team A on their possession, and then scores when they have the ball, then Team B wins the round.

The winner of the first round plays Team C.  The winner of that matchup plays Team B.  The round robin format is continued until someone is eliminated.  These things can last 20 minutes or 2 hours, and everywhere in between.  Kansas City Tiebreakers are still fairly uncommon, which is what makes them so unique and interesting.

This year, the state of Idaho will see a staggering four Kansas City Tiebreakers.  Two will feature the traditional three-team setup, while the other two will star a pair of teams battling for a single playoff spot.  Here's the rundown:

Inland Empire League (Class 5A, District 1-2)
Coeur d'Alene, Lewiston and Post Falls competing
6:00 PM, Moscow HS

The Vikings, Bengals and Trojans all finished 2-1 in IEL play this season.  Coeur d'Alene and Lewiston had been the early favorites to grab the league's two playoff berths this year, but Post Falls entered the discussion with their win over Coeur d'Alene two weeks ago.  District 1-2 receives two automatic bids to the 5A postseason, while a third team can also qualify via the single at-large bid that is awarded.  There is a lot on the line for Post Falls today.  The Trojans must finish either first or second tonight if they want to qualify for the postseason.  If Post Falls finishes third, the Trojans do not have a chance for the at-large bid, and the Borah Lions would qualify instead.  If either Coeur d'Alene or Lewiston finishes third, they will receive the at-large bid, and Borah would be staying home.

Snake River Valley Conference (Class 3A, District 3)
McCall-Donnelly and Payette competing
7:00 PM, Weiser HS

Originally this was scheduled to be a three-team event, as McCall-Donnelly, Payette and Fruitland all finished with identical 2-3 league records.  However, on the heels of an alleged hazing incident that saw eleven varsity players receive suspensions, Fruitland has forfeited their position at the Kansas City Tiebreaker.  That leaves McCall-Donnelly and Payette to battle for the conference's third and final playoff bid.  In a funny twist, these teams actually played just three days ago.  On Friday, the Vandals defeated the Pirates 29-13.

Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference (Class 3A, District 4)
Buhl, Filer and Kimberly competing
6:00 PM, Twin Falls HS

Filer entered this past Friday 0-2 in SCIC play, needing a win over Buhl and a Gooding win over Kimberly to force the improbable Kansas City Tiebreaker.  The Wildcats got their wish, and will get ready to compete in what should be a wide-open event.  On paper, Kimberly has the best team, but the Bulldogs have been decimated by injuries.  There is one playoff spot available, and whoever wins tonight's events will join undefeated Gooding as the District 4 representatives in the Class 3A postseason.

Scenic Idaho Conference (Class 1AD1, District 1)
Lakeside and Wallace competing
6:00 PM, Post Falls HS

This might be the most entertaining Kansas City Tiebreaker of the day, as these two 8-man rivals collide for the third time this year.  The SIC is only a two-team league, so the Knights and Miners play each other twice during the season to determine the champion.  Problem is, the two sides split, with Lakeside winning the first matchup 56-52, and Wallace winning this past Friday 40-36.  Whoever wins this battle will grab the conference's lone playoff bid, and will be seeded 12th overall for the opening round of the 1AD1 postseason, where a first round game against Oakley awaits.

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