The discussion the last few days when it comes to high school football has revolved around Sundays sectional draw. Of course, the yearly call for the seeding of sectionals has made the rounds, but if there is anything to be said about a blind draw, it is that some teams find themselves in advantageous positions while others are facing a tough task.
We take a look at a few of those instances.
WINNER – NORWELL
The Knights are clear favorite in Sectional 27 in Class A, and the draw they received only made their path to a crown easier.
Norwell will open the postseason on the road against two-win Maconaquah, a squad that was routed by the Knights 49-7 a year ago. It will then play the winner of Northwestern and Concordia Lutheran, two teams with a combined one victory. And yes, the Cadets play in the tough SAC, but it is a squad scoring only 17 points per game and Norwell has the best defensive unit in the NE8 outside of Leo.
The two contenders to Norwell are likely Oak Hill and Peru, but those two will face off in the sectional semifinals in the bottom part of the bracket, meaning the Knights will only face one of them.
The blind draw bit the Eagles in a big way.
Instead of leading up to an eventual showdown with Adams Central at some point deep into Sectional 44, Churubusco drew Adams Central to open the playoffs.
In terms of common opponents, both Churubusco and the Flying Jets battled Eastside tough, with losses by seven and two, respectively. Both are blue-collar, hard-nosed running teams with a physical defense.
Can the Eagles derail Adams Central’s quest before it truly begins?
It will be a tough task, but Churubusco at least gets the game at home, so it could be worse. That said, facing AC out of the gate isn’t ideal.
WINNER – WAYNE
When talking SAC and potential sectional title contenders, Carroll, Snider and Bishop Luers lead the way.
But what about the Generals?
The top two contenders appear to be Delta and Mississinewa, but Coach Sherwood Haydock’s team gets a home date against Marion to start before likely having to go to Delta in Round 2.
BUT, South Side isn’t out of it when it comes to a first-round date with Delta to open postseason play. Could the Archers pull the upset, handing Wayne a sectional semifinal game against a team it beat by 10 in the regular season?
Keep an eye on Wayne.
LOSER – HOMESTEAD
The Spartans will look for its first winning streak since Weeks 1-2 this Friday, which would be a much-needed boost to a team that has been up and down through the majority of the season.
Unfortunately, the draw didn’t d Coach Chad Zolman’s team any favors.
Not only is Homestead pitted up against its rival Carroll in the first round, a team that is rolling right now, it also has to take on the Chargers on the road for the second time this year.
The first go around, Carroll held Homestead to 10 points in a 17-10 victory in Week 7.
While that game was close, it just feels as if the two rivals are headed in opposite directions. The Chargers are firing on all cylinders on offense and defense, while the Homestead offense has struggled to gain traction in losses to Snider (14 points) and Carroll in the second half of the season.
A positive? Homestead is 3-1 in road games this season.
WINNER – FANS OF AN EASTSIDE-BISHOP LUERS FINAL
Boxing always hypes up its trilogies. Ali v. Frazier. Gatti v. Ward. Holyfield v. Bowe.
Well, get ready for the Eastside v. Luers trilogy.
The teams have met the last two seasons in sectional play, with Eastside winning in 2019 and Bishop Luers in 2020. The previous two meetings were each decided by a single score.
Sunday’s draw makes Round 3 all but an inevitable. Eastside resides in the top part of the bracket while Bishop Luers is at the bottom. None of the other six teams are capable (on paper) of knocking them off.
Laban Davis. Carson Clark. Dax Holman. Brody Glenn. All the rest.
Get ready for the deciding showdown come sectional final Friday.
LOSER – FANS OF SEEDING
Yes, once again there are some matchups we would otherwise like to see later in the postseason – Leo v. East Noble and AC-Busco being prime examples.
But how do you seed?
Overall record? That doesn’t make sense due to strength of schedule.
Sagarin ratings? Well, that formula has South Adams ahead of Monroe Central in Class 43 despite the fact that that the Golden Bears shut out the Starfires earlier this season.
So yes, a seeding system would benefit the matchups, but we also lose the spontaneity that comes with blind draws and matchups that look lopsided on paper that end up being excellent.
And do you really want to try to follow every huge game on sectional final Friday? That’d be chaos.