NM, FS 4, 5, 10.jpg

Fairmont Senior's Dylan Ours (5) and Dom Stingo (10) combine to tackle North Marion's Hunter Kuhn during the teams' meeting earlier this season at Roy Michael Field.

FAIRMONT — In what has been a wild and wonky football season due to the COVID-19 protocols, the WVSSAC released guidelines on Wednesday related to playoff qualifications and requirements.

The baseline for a team to qualify for one of the 16 football playoff spots in each of Class A, AA and AAA is a minimum of four games played, according to a WVSSAC press release. All teams that meet the minimum threshold of having played at least four games by the end of the regular season will then be seeded in accordance with their rankings in the WVSSAC playoff ratings as usual.

The football postseason for all three classes is scheduled to begin the weekend of Nov. 13-14.

Teams that have played either less than four games or enter the week of the playoffs labeled either orange or red on the state’s COVID-19 metrics map will not be permitted to participate in the playoffs, the WVSSAC announced on Wednesday.

Teams that miss the playoffs — either due to playing less than four games or being outside the Top 16 in their respective class in the playoff ratings — will still be permitted to play games even after the start of the playoffs until Nov. 28 if they have not reached the maximum of 10 games played for the season. In such circumstances, teams in red, orange and gold counties will still be subject to the same COVID-19 protocols as it relates to the metrics map. In theory, under these guidelines, teams that miss playoffs will still be allowed to continue playing games after the original conclusion of the regular season until they reach the maximum of 10 games played or until the Nov. 28 season deadline.

As the standings sit entering Friday, Oct. 16, there are 34 teams across the state that have played less than four games so far this season. There are 11 such teams in both Class AAA and Class AA and 12 such teams in Class A.

In Marion County, all three of East Fairmont, Fairmont Senior and North Marion have already reached the four-game threshold for the season, and based on the latest WVSSAC Class AA playoff ratings, each of North Marion and Fairmont Senior would qualify for the playoffs. North Marion (4-1) is currently tied for sixth in the Class AA ratings, while Fairmont Senior (3-2) is ranked 10th.

Email Bradley Heltzel at bheltzel@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @bradheltzTWV.

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