The time for 6-man football teams to prove themselves worthy for postseason play is over. The state playoffs begin this week and there are just 16 teams vying for a chance to win the state championship. Over the next four weeks the field will be whittled down until there is just one team left standing.

(16) Prairie at (1) Stratton, Friday 7 p.m.

Stratton enters the postseason as the overwhelming No. 1 seed after a dominant regular season. The rushing duo of Alex Cruz and Cyler Notter have been nearly unstoppable through the course of the season. Cruz has totaled 1,215 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns while Notter 710 yards and 15 scores. In all, the Eagles have rushed for 2,747 yards as a team this year and controlling the ground is key to them getting back to the state title game.

Prairie bounced back from a tough loss to North Park and rolled to a 75-15 win over Hi-Plains which helped the Mustangs get into the field as the No. 16 seed. Claytin Hove sets the tone for Prairie on the ground as he has rushed for 1,574 yards and 24 touchdowns. The Mustangs could have a chance of scoring a major upset if they can control the time of possession and not turn the ball over.

(15) Hanover at (2) Fleming, Saturday 1 p.m.

A loss to Stratton to conclude the regular season didn’t impact Flemings playoff seed. The Wildcats sit firmly at No. 2 and might still provide the best chance to derail Stratton’s bid at a perfect season. They have more balance than a lot of 6-man teams as Braylen Feather has thrown for 1,015 yards and 17 touchdowns. Nolan Japp has led the rushing attack with 750 yards and 15 touchdowns.

After starting the season 2-2, Hanover went 5-1 through the remainder of the regular season and gets into the playoffs as the No. 15 seed. The Hornets have a three-headed rushing attack as Ronquez Ackerman, David Byers and Junior Diaz have each rushed for over 400 yards.

(14) Briggsdale at (3) Granada, Friday 6 p.m.

The Bobcats come in as a battle-tested team having beaten four teams that qualified for the state tournament. Brandon Gonzales has been a big reason as he has thrown for 1,333 yards and 26 touchdowns on the season.

Briggsdale has had a week to get healthy as it finished the season with a forfeit win over Flagler. Johnathon Malovich led the rushing effort through the season. In seven games, he totaled 391 rushing yards and six touchdowns.

(13) Cotopaxi at (4) Cheyenne Wells, Saturday 1 p.m.

Cheyenne Wells is hoping to be playing its best football now so it can claim a second straight championship. After starting the year 2-3, the Tigers won their final four games of the regular season. Ty Scheler has rushed for 979 yards and 20 touchdowns and has also thrown for four touchdowns this season.

Cotopaxi could make things interesting as it features one of the best passers in 6-man. Ty Coleman has thrown for 2,066 yards and 39 touchdowns. He and the Pirates will try to turn this game into a track meet.

(12) Sierra Grande at (5) Otis, Saturday 1 p.m.

Otis is another team that is heading into the postseason with a lot of momentum. The Bulldogs grabbed a 75-28 win over Walsh to end the regular season. Tayte Smith set the tone on offense as he rushed for 1,412 yards and 28 touchdowns. He also picked off three passes on defense.

The Panthers come into the state tournament with two wins over playoff teams in 2022 so they know they can hang with the field. Aron Ojeda has thrown for 1,249 yards and 24 touchdowns while Angelo Lucero has rushed for 1,044 yards and 24 touchdowns.

(11) Branson/Kim at (6) Arickaree, Saturday 2 p.m.

Like most teams, the Bison lost to Stratton during the regular season, but it was a loss to Genoa-Hugo that could have knocked them out of a top four seed. Logan Wright paces the offense with 1,478 yards and 29 touchdowns.

The Bearcats lost their regular season finale to Cheyenne Wells and now face a tough road matchup. They’ll try to counter Arickaree’s rushing attack with Peyton Cranson who has 1,190 rushing yards to his name with 18 touchdowns to go with them.

(10) Cheraw at (7) Genoa-Hugo, Saturday 1 p.m.

At time this season, Genoa-Hugo has looked like a solid team that is capable of a deep playoff run. Trey Smith has been a big reason for that as he has thrown for 1,851 yards and 24 touchdowns. His best game was a 15-for-20 performance where he totaled 292 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Pirates to a win over Arickaree.

Cheraw has had a bit of a mixed bag this year. It has beaten playoff teams like Prairie and Eads but lost to the likes of Granada, Cheyenne Wells and Stratton. Braeden Harris will try and pace the ball control game as he has 1,279 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns this season.

(9) Eads at (8) North Park, Saturday 1 p.m.

North Park dropped its first two games of the season before rattling off six straight wins to end the year. It’s seven wins if you count the forfeit against Mountain Valley last week. Hunter Sessions has balled out, throwing for 1,004 yards and 18 touchdowns while Makeon Crum has rushed for 1,212 and 16 scores.

The three losses that Eads has suffered this season have all come against teams that are on the 6-man bracket. Porter Spady and Stockton Mitchek have been a solid combo in the backfield as they have combined to rush for over 1,800 yards and 34 touchdowns.