>Teams better bring it in late October
The end of October marks one of my favorite times of year - fall sports playoffs.
   Around the area, it looks like both Madras and Culver volleyball teams will make the playoffs, and the Madras football team has a huge game on Friday. With a win, the Buff gridders will snag the final spot from the Tri-Valley Conference and advance to the play-in round.
   And, of course, we can't forget about the Madras water polo teams, either. The girls team has lost twice all year, and it's been to those same pesky Redmond Panthers.
   They'll enter the district tournament Saturday at the No. 1 seed, while the boys have a little tougher road to get to the top of their bracket.
   Anyway, let's get back to football and Madras' quest to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
   It's a big deal, folks. It's a stepping stone, building block or whatever cliche about progress you want to use, insert it here.
   If the Buffs win, which I think they will, the team will finish third in the TVC and will be matched up against a second-place team from another conference in the play-in round.
   That's done by the OSAA RPI, a seeding tool that is calculated based upon a team's winning percentage, home/away schedule and overall strength of schedule by their opponents' winning percentage.
   It seems rather complicated, but the OSAA has it all spelled out on their website, complete with a fancy chart, so hardcore fans and parents who aren't sure where the end zone is can all track the team's progress.
   But none of that will happen unless Madras beats Estacada, and it's the Buffs homecoming game, to boot.
   No pressure, guys.
   Both Madras and Culver spikers will be on the way to the playoffs this season, it's just a matter of where.
   Culver did what a lot of people expected them to do and won the Tri-River Conference championship, and did it riding the coattails of a 12-match winning streak.
   They are playing state championship-caliber volleyball right now. After they gutted out a big win against Kennedy on Oct. 10, they made me a believer.
   If they can keep it going, with the talented crop of young talent they have, there's no reason why Culver can't be a frequent visitor to Ridgeview High School in early November every year.
   Madras, meanwhile, will more than likely end up with a home play-in match to start the playoffs. For the sake of news and the Pioneer's deadline schedule, it wasn't 100 percent certain where the Buffs would fall in regards to hosting a play-in or receiving a bye.
   However, with Estacada's win on Monday, all the Buffs can do is tie with the Rangers as the league's top team. After two tiebreaker rules (head to head and record against league opponents), it will go to the OSAA RPI, which Estacada has the edge in.
   Stay tuned for more playoff news as it develops.
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