As hard as it might be to believe, the 2011 high school football regular season is half over.
That means it's fair to take a glance at how the playoffs are shaping up in District 6 and District 5.
It's been a pretty unpredictable season so far. Johnstown, Juniata Valley and North Star the only remaining undefeated teams left in the region.
The wildest race is in District 5-6 Class AA. Eighteen teams are vying for eight postseason berths. Fourteen of them have between two and four victories with five games left to qualify.
Barring some kind of inexplicable collapse, Tyrone, Richland and Ligonier Valley can be written into the field. All three are near the top of the point standings already and have favorable schedules down the stretch, although Tyrone has a big game at Class AAAA Central Mountain this week that could eventually play a big role in deciding the top seed.
Things get really interesting after that.
Philipsburg-Osceola currently is second in the standings, but the Mounties host undefeated Clearfield this week, Tyrone on Oct. 21 and Ligonier in the last game of the season.
Sandwiched in with those are trips to Central and Huntingdon - Central is ninth right now, but the Scarlet Dragons are well-positioned to make it into the playoffs with four of their last five against teams with losing records and P-O at home.
Penn Cambria, Bedford and Forest Hills look like three of the best eight teams, but it isn't all that likely all three make it to the playoffs. After a potential trap game with Cambria Heights this week, Penn Cambria hosts Forest Hills and Bedford before hitting the road to play Richland. Forest Hills, meanwhile, also has home games against 4-1 Bishop McCort and 5-0 Johnstown.
Although Bedford hosts Johnstown on Friday, the Bisons have the least-difficult schedule of the three, but they also have the fewest wins and the biggest propensity to play to the level of their competition.
In District 6 Class A, Valley, McCort, Moshannon Valley, Bellwood-Antis, Penns Manor and Blairsville are fairly solid bets to be part of the 12-team field.
Beyond that, though, there's a lot of room for jockeying.
Nine teams have two or three wins and are separated by 180 power points. Look for a lot of four- and five-win teams; unlike double-A, Class A teams only have four games left.
The Class A picture in District 5 is more clear cut. Windber and North Star are in the driver's seat, and the winner of their meeting on Oct. 21 will probably decide the top seed.
However, should Windber win that game and then lose to Conemaugh Township, Northern Bedford has a chance to end up first.
Cmor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 946-7440.