Despite the 53-23 loss to Morningside on Saturday, the No. 18 Hastings College football team is still optimistic about the remainder of the season. The Broncos — who dropped four spots in the NAIA poll released Monday — have three games left on the schedule, including two home contests. With the NAIA playoffs being the goal, HC knows that it virtually must win out to finish the year.
Only 16 teams advance to the playoffs each year. All eight conference champions, as long as they’re ranked in the top 20, earn a playoff berth. After that, the rest of the teams are chosen by rankings.
The loss to unbeaten and fourth-ranked Morningside more than likely eliminates Hastings from qualifying as a conference champion. Morningside would have to lose two of its last three games — two of which are against the bottom two teams in the conference — with the Broncos winning out, if HC wants to claim the GPAC. But until the Mustangs lose that first game, we’ll assume they are repeating as conference champions.
That leaves Hastings College with one choice: The Broncos must win out — a task far easier said than done.