EDGEWATER - The Saints have done what their head coach said would be "almost impossible": make the Colorado 2A football playoffs after being forced to forfeit two games.
Jefferson scheduled ten games this year, one more than is allowed. CHSAA took away a Week Zero win and forced Jefferson to cancel its final game against Nederland.
Head coach Anthony Rankin gathered his hard luck team this past week and told them that despite their best season since 1996, the playoffs were almost certainly out of reach.
"If we were right on what we calculated, you guys have zero percent chance of making it," Rankin said he told his team.
"It's almost impossible for us to make the playoffs," Rankin said at the time.
The coach said tears followed.
Compose yourself, Saints, because you're about to enter unfamiliar and tough territory: the postseason.
The Saints squeaked in as a 15 seed based on wildcard points. The only lower seed in 2A is The Academy, which has a losing record but got in an as automatic qualifier.
Jefferson will face #2 Manitou Springs in the first round.
How did the Saints make the playoffs?
Math. The kind with decimal points.
Coach Rankin said last week he'd done the math and didn't see any path to the playoffs for the Saints. Jeffco Schools Executive Director of Athletics Jim Thyfault was more charitable, calling the chance slim. CHSAA concurred with Thyfault and noted that the Saints weren't a lock for the wildcard even before the forfeits.
But the final week games went the Saints' way and the math worked.
The Saints now face a two-part task. First, they must figure out how to compete with a powerhouse Manitou Springs squad. Secondly, when the season is said and done, Jefferson needs to determine how to keep this from happening again.
This is the second straight year the football team has been forced by CHSAA to forfeit games because of a rules violation. Last year it was a player ineligibility issue.
Jefferson has had three athletic directors in three years. In fact, the AD in the office when the illegal 10th game was scheduled is not the current AD.
If Jefferson is going to build a proud football program for the first time in decades, someone needs to double-check the paperwork to ensure the student-athletes' success on the field isn't wiped out by an error on paper.
The district says Coach Rankin was placed on a restriction by CHSAA, which means he can't coach at the next game. The decision could be reconsidered after the school communicates with CHSAA about how they plan to prevent future errors from taking place.
See the entire playoff bracket: chsaanow.com
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