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Durand Railroaders Football Headed to Playoffs

First Time-Ever Coin Flip Sends Team To Next Level to Face Montrose

Updated at 8:22pm 10/27/19 - Posted by Durand Now at 3:29pm 10/27/19

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UPDATE: Revealed in the Selection Show aired on Sunday night, Durand and Montrose will face each other in playoff action.  Durand AD, Bryan Carpenter, said the game will likely be Friday but he'll know for sure by Monday, probably.

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"It's just been a great year for the kids," Bryan Carpenter, Durand's Athletic Director told Durand Now on Sunday.  On Friday, the goal for Durand's varsity football team was to go 5 and 4 on the season, he said.  The Railroaders defeated Bendle on Friday, 60 to 20.  

Late Saturday night, Carpenter said he and Durand Varsity Football Coach Rick Winbigler figured out that the team was tied with Imlay City.  "At that point you sit and wait for the state to call," he said.

Via video call this morning, Carpenter said he and Winbigler learned that, for the first time in playoff history, a coin flip would determine the final team to enter.  The teams on each side of that coin: Imlay City and Durand.

Carpenter said two other attempted tie-breakers, according to MHSAA rules, had to take place in order for the two teams to wind up at the coin toss.  Playoff point average; bonus points and other factors are taken into account.  Carpenter said in three different categories the teams tied "down to the third decimal place."

Imlay City chose the Susan B. Anthony coin that would be flipped, and IC was designated tails.  The coin was flipped by MHSAA officials and landed face up, and just like that, Durand was welcomed into playoff action for the first time since 2009, Carpenter said.

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Capenter said only he and Winbigler along with Imlay City's Athletic Director and Football Coach knew about the coin flip and the result until MHSAA tweeted at 9am on Sunday morning:

"For the first time ever, a coin flip was used to determine the final 5-4 qualifier to the #MHSAA Playoffs. The coin landed on heads … welcome to the playoffs, DURAND! Watch the Selection Show tonight at 7:00 live on @FoxSportsDet PLUS."

"It got around quick and everybody's been buzzing," he said, "it's been an awesome morning."

The team will gather at the high school Sunday evening to watch the Selection Show, to find out who the team will challenge later in the week.

Carpenter said the last time Durand went to the playoffs was one of his last years as coach of Durand's football program, but he's quick to give Winbigler all the credit for the team's success this year.  "Coach Winbigler came in with a plan and he's just stuck to his plan," he said.  "I can't give enough credit to what he's done to bring the kids together and to keep them focused on the same thing no matter what or no matter how hard it got."

Carpenter said Winbigler's team this year beat his own 2009 team's point record, but Coach Fuller, who took the 1982 and 1983 teams to the playoffs and weighed in to congratulate this year's Railroaders, saying "Congratulations to the 2019 Railroaders and best wishes as you inter [sic] the State Play-offs. This is the fourth football team in school history to qualify for the state play-offs, others being 2009, 1983 and 1982," said that 1977's team actually holds the point record with 301.

In addition to Durand's varsity program's success this year, Carpenter noted the JV team's 6-2 record and the middle school's 500 season, adding that weather issues caused some challenges, but again, gave all the credit on the teams' successes to Winbigler.

This story will be updated Sunday, after the Selection Show wraps, with more information about the playoffs.

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Shiawassee THEN Episode 2 - 8.31.19

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