The 6-Man football playoffs will start a week earlier than previously scheduled, 6-Man de facto president Brandon Gondeiro told MTN Sports.
The playoffs were originally scheduled to begin the weekend of Oct. 30-31, but the Montana High School Association executive board this week approved 6-Man's proposal to move the first round of the playoffs to the weekend of Oct. 23-24. The bracket will still include 16 teams competing in eight first-round games. The 6-Man championship game will now be played the weekend of Nov. 13-14 instead of Nov. 20-21.
Though there will still be 16 teams in the postseason bracket, it will look slightly different this fall than years past. There are now five 6-Man conferences -- East, South, Central, North and West. The 6-Man East will receive four berths in the postseason, while the other four leagues will only receive three. The fourth-berth division will rotate among the five leagues each year.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, 6-Man administrators already removed non-conference games from their master football schedule. Teams are still allowed to play non-conference games, but they must have been scheduled independently between schools "based on the feelings of their school boards" and local health departments, according to Gondeiro, who is also the co-head coach at Geraldine-Highwood alongside Rod Tweet. Many programs have gone to conference-only schedules, which started as early as last week. The regular season is scheduled to end by Oct. 17, leaving an open weekend between the end of the regular season and the beginning of the playoffs. Administrators built in that cushion to play games that might need to be postponed this fall.
For updated 6-Man standings throughout the season, please click here.
Class A administrators also adjusted their football playoff bracket for this fall, with that announcement coming in August. Instead of qualifying 12 teams for the playoffs, only eight Class A teams will qualify, which ultimately moves that state championship game up to the weekend of Nov. 13-14, as well. The Class AA, Class B and 8-Man championships are still scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 20-21 as of now.