Off the top: Telling stats from football playoffs

November, 20, 2013
11/20/13
7:23
PM ET
Some statistical information gleaned from the last week or so of the MIAA football playoffs:

3. This is our house: Through its first year, and through the respective sectional tournaments, the MIAA football playoff system acquitted itself well in regard to its playoff seedings. Of the 138 games played through the weekend, throughout the state tournaments, the higher seed prevailed in 110 of those games — about 72 percent.

While most teams made the most of home-field advantage in the playoffs, only five divisions statewide were won out exclusively by the home teams, including (surprisingly enough) Division 2 South – which we deemed “The Group of Death” entering the playoffs.

However, again while higher seeds held a clear advantage on the greater bulk of playoff games, seven teams won their district championship game despite being the lower seed, meaning higher seeds were only 15-for-22 in sectional final games.

Here’s a look at the seven teams who pulled off “upsets” in those finals pairings:
  • Abington (Div. 5 South)
  • Bedford (Div. 4 North)
  • Central Catholic (Div. 1 North)
  • Doherty (Div. 4 Central)
  • Hoosac Valley (Div. 5 West)
  • St. John’s of Shrewsbury (Div. 2 Central)
  • Stoughton (Div. 3 Southwest)

2. Mr. Consistency: Melrose senior quarterback Malik Garrett is among the leading rushers in the state during the playoffs, running for 466 yards and seven touchdowns. But the rugged 5-foot-11, 195-pound signal caller has supplemented the ground game with a rather consistent passing result.

In fact, you can set your clock to Garrett gaining 115 yards in the air – as evidenced by his identical marks throwing for 115 in the Red Raiders’ three playoff wins over Middlesex League foes Burlington, Arlington and Woburn. Garrett has also been accurate, while completing 20 of 31 pass attempts throughout the playoffs – good for a completion percentage just a shade less than 65 percent. It’s an impressive feat, considering Garrett often throws on the roll, as part of Melrose’s spread option attack. And, if he’s not looking downfield for a receiver, he just as likely to run over you.

1. Picture Perfect? Well, Mansfield’s quarterback Kyle Wisnieski nearly was during Friday night’s win over Barnstable in the Div. 1 South final. While completing 20 of 27 pass attempts for 284 yards and four touchdowns against no interceptions, the Hornets senior quarterback registered nearly a perfect passer rating on Friday. Based on the NFL’s passer rating rubric, in which a “perfect” rating is 158.3, Wisnieski posted a 147.2 in Mansfield’s 41-16 victory. Along with a tremendous effort from the Hornets defense, in particular their defensive line, which limited All-State candidate running Hayden Murphy to just 21 rushing yards, Wisnieski and the Hornets took their game to near ... well, perfection.

Scott Barboza

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
Scott Barboza joined ESPNBoston.com as a high schools editor/reporter in May 2010. He spent the previous three seasons working in the New England Patriots media relations department after a stint at the Taunton Daily Gazette, where he covered everything from Little League baseball to the Boston Red Sox.

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