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Mohawk, Turners, Tech eye postseason

NORTHAMPTON — It’s time to officially usher in a new era in the Bay State, and three local football teams will have an opportunity to advance to the state’s inaugural state tournament.

Mohawk Trail Regional High School, Franklin County Technical School and Turners Falls High School all qualified for the Division VI Tournament and were seeded along with McCann Technical School by the Western Massachusetts Tournament Committee, which met Sunday at Northampton High School.

Mohawk (7-1) was seeded second and Franklin Tech (6-2) wound up third, creating a much-anticipated Tri-County League rematch in the semifinals. That game will be played Friday night at 6 at Pollard Field in Buckland.

The Indians (6-2), meanwhile, fell to the fourth seed after Saturday’s loss to Cathedral. Thus, they’ll be forced to travel to North Adams for a 1 p.m. Saturday contest against McCann (7-1).

The winners will meet the following weekend for the sectional crown and a state-tourney berth. That semifinal will be played on Nov. 23 at either 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. at Westfield State University.

All six state-final games are scheduled to be played on Dec. 7 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

Tournament committee member and Athol athletic director David King noted that all playoff games will use 11-minute quarters as a compromise between leagues that use different rules.

State-final games will use 10-minute quarters due to time constraints.

The committee also announced this coming weekend’s Week 10 regular-season games for non-qualifying teams, and five area squads will play.

The only game matching two area teams will take place at O’Brien Field in Athol, where the Red Raiders will host Pioneer Valley Regional School. Frontier Regional School will entertain Dean Technical High School, Greenfield High School welcomes Amherst Regional High School to Veterans Memorial Field, and Mahar Regional School will journey to St. Joseph’s Park in Thorndike to take on Pathfinder Vocational High School.

Sectional semifinal losers will be added to the non-qualifying list and assigned a Week 11 game (Nov. 15-16).

All matchups do not become official until 24 hours after the committee’s announcement. King added that, when piecing together the games for non-qualfiers, the committee considered records, home and away conflicts, and matchups that would be comparable and competitive, and they were not concerned about crossing over division; there are five games that pit Division V vs. Division VI; the Amherst-Greenfield contest is D-IV vs. D-VI, but the committee said Greenfield was the highest ranked non-qualifier.

The committee also recommended ticket prices of $7 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens for the sectional semifinals. Prices are $10 and $7 for the sectional finals.

All matchups will become official later today.

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