The Pine Tree Conference Class A has been the most entertaining and competitive high school football league in the state this season. If you don’t believe me, follow me as I explain how the PTC could take fans into the football twilight zone as it heads to the postseason.

Messalonskee closes the regular season with losses to Bangor and Lawrence and finishes 5-4…
AND Lewiston beats Cony and Edward Little to finish 5-4…
AND Skowhegan splits its final two games against Mt. Ararat and Bangor to also finish 5-4…
THEN we have a three-way tie for the final spot in the PTC A playoff field.

This started when Messalonskee beat Lewiston in Week 2. Skowhegan then beat Messalonskee the following week, and the week after that, Lewiston knocked off Skowhegan.

As the rest of the season unfolded, that three-week stretch became more and more important.

A coin flip for the final playoff spot is dramatic enough, but it also could happen with the top seed.

Right now, Lawrence is 7-0, followed by Bangor (6-1) and Brunswick (6-1). All three are going to the playoffs. If Brunswick beats Lawrence this Friday night, and Bangor wins at Messalonskee, each of the top three is 7-1. If each of them wins in the regular-season finale, we have another football Mexican standoff. Bangor beat Brunswick in Week 1, and Lawrence beat Bangor the following week.

Let’s put this simply. With two weeks to go in the regular season, all four spots in the Pine Tree Conference Class A playoffs could be determined by a coin flip.

How cool would that be? That’s the kind of thing that gives fans goose bumps and coaches heartburn.

Granted, everything has to fall just right over the next two weeks for this scenario to occur, but it’s not a longshot, either.

The first tiebreaker in Maine high school football is Crabtree points, which are calculated by adding a team’s winning percentage to its opponents’ winning percentage, and multiplying by 100. In every other league in the state, Crabtree points work great because you don’t play every team in the league. You play a tougher schedule, your points go up.

With 10 teams this season, the PTC A plays a nine-game round robin. Everybody plays everybody. Teams with the same record playing the same opponents are going to have the same Crabtree point score. After head to head, the next tiebreaker is Heal points, which also will be the same.

The Maine Principals’ Association football bulletin outlines exactly how the coin toss would go.

The bulletin reads: “In the case of a three-way tie after the above procedure has been followed then a coin toss will take place to determine the higher seed, which will be the odd coin, and the tie breaking procedure will be repeated for the two remaining teams.”

What this means is, if Messalonskee throws tails and Lewiston and Skowhegan throw heads, Messalonskee is in. If Brunswick throws heads and Lawrence and Bangor throw tails, Brunswick is the top seed, and Lawrence is No. 2 because of its win over the Rams during the regular season.

 We’ve seen the coin flip for playoff spots before, as recently as last season in the Campbell Conference Class B. Greely, Falmouth and Cape Elizabeth each finished the regular season at 6-3. Falmouth beat Greely, Greely beat Cape Elizabeth, Cape Elizabeth beat Falmouth.

Cape Elizabeth won the three-way coin toss and earned the third seed in the playoffs. Falmouth, by virtue of its head-to-head win over Greely, took the fourth seed.

Messalonskee could beat Bangor and make all of this speculation moot. Lawrence could avenge playoff losses the past two years to Brunswick by besting the Dragons at Keyes Field on Friday night.

Skowhegan could win out and earn a playoff spot the old-fashioned way. The coin toss scenario probably won’t happen.

But it will be fun if it does.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242
[email protected]

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