Posted On: 10/24/17 2:00 AM

When the Minnesota high school football playoffs commence Tuesday, every team has a path to the state tournament. Some routes are more difficult than others depending on your squad’s health, class level, and section alignment, but every team in the state is still theoretically alive.

Since 2013, at least two teams seeded No. 4 or below in section play have qualified for the state tournament from 9-Man to Class AAAAA each season. Last year, Browerville/Eagle Valley (Section 6A) and Andover (7AAAAA) – both seeded fourth – won their respective groupings by winning three games in the section playoffs.

Just what does it take for a team seeded fourth or below to make a run through its respective section?

Of the nine teams that made the unlikely run, eight ended the regular season with a Quality Rankings Formula (QRF) of 33rd or higher, based on the calculation from Minnesota-Scores.net. Only Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted in 2015 was below that ranking when the playoffs began.

The Lakers 1-7 regular-season record was also an outlier, as seven of the nine squads finished at .500 or better. More than half actually began the postseason with a

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