Postseason hopes came true for Howells-Dodge and Clarkson/Leigh when the NSAA released its playoff brackets on Saturday morning.
Both teams had already clinched winning their district, so there was little drama to Friday's results. The only question was, where would teams fall on the bracket and who would the opponents be?
Both Howells-Dodge and Clarkson/Leigh will play on Thursday at home.
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No. 1 seed Howells-Dodge vs. Homer: The Jaguars earned their spot into the playoffs with their fourth unbeaten regular season in the last eight. Howells-Dodge has been in the playoffs each of the last eight seasons since combining in 2012. Howells has nine state titles in its history, all won between 2000 and 2010. The program played in 10 state title games during that span but have yet to make it back since. This season, the Jaguars are scoring more than 40 points per game while allowing just over 15. Homer comes in 4-4 and having lost three of its final four.
Howells-Dodge will kickoff at 7 p.m. at home. Thursday's winner will face the winner of Lutheran High Northeast and Lourdes Central Catholic on Nov. 6.
No. 6 seed Clarkson/Leigh vs Riverside: After losing its first two games of the season to the No. 1 ranked team in both class D-1 (Howells-Dodge) and D-2 (Humphrey St. Francis) the Patriots rattled off six straight wins. Eli Hays has led the team with 657 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns and 138 receiving yards. He also has 425 kick return yards. The Patriots are averaging more than 53 points per game while allowing only 22. Riverside finished the season 5-3, but lost two of its last three to end the season.
Clarkson/Leigh will kickoff at Leigh at 7 p.m. The winner faces the winner of Falls City Sacred Heart and Diller-Odell on Nov. 6.