Section Playoff Previews…Taking a lot at some of the better teams from the area and their playoff hopes… Joel J
Section 4A: Things could get interesting here. Defending Section Champion ACGC is sitting in 5th place currently in the standings, but can not be counted out…not with the schedule they play. Kimball sits in first place currently in the section, with Lecenter and Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity right behind. This is a wide open section.
Section 4AA: In the QRF Ratings the MSHSL has adopted the Norwood Young America Central Raiders sit currently as the #1 team in the state, but the polls only have them in the top 5. The Raiders are a heavy favorite in the section, but you can’t count out Mayer Lutheran and Maple Lake. Those two teams know how to win as well.
Section 5AA: 7-time defending champion Eden Valley Watkins won’t be the #1 seed for the first time in…7 years. The BOLD Warriors will get that honor, but I think the title still goes through EVW. I expect the Eagles and Warriors to match up for a third straight year in the sections. Is this the year BOLD finally breaks through? Or will EVW make it a “Great 8”?
Section 3AAA: Getting the #1 seed in this section is extremely key. Not only would you get to host the section title game, you’d not have to face the #3 seed in a 3 team section. Fairmont, Glencoe Silver Lake, and Montevideo are the three contenders here. The Panthers are the 9-time defending section champions…but will they even get to the title game? All three of those teams have legitimate hopes.
Section 2AAAA: This is another three horse race with Mankato West, Hutchinson, and Marshall all sitting undefeated going into week 6. All three teams will be favored to win their remaining two games, so we could see three 8-0 teams at section time. Getting a top 2 seed is key…it allows for a BYE on Quarterfinal Tuesday and you get to rest some of your injuries. Not a bad idea for a banged up Hutch squad. West is the clear favorite here, but don’t count out either Tigers’ squad.
Section 2A: A wide open section that emcompasses a lot of teams. Can’t name them all but 9 teams will have winning records with no dominate team. BOLD and ACGC are included in there with good shots at moving on. If your looking for a dark horse candidate with a losing record…look to BLHS. They are better than their 8-11 record.
Section 4A: Mayer Lutheran is the defending champion here and has to be considered the favorite. I saw them play the other day and came away impressed. While there are teams with better records, they’d be hard pressed to play better ball. I think this is the Crusaders section, unless they trip themselves up.
Section 2AA: Out of the 16 total teams in this section only 3 have losing records at this writing. Lesueur Henderson and Belle Plaine are clearly the cream of the crop, but NYA, WM and GSL are all knocking on the door.
Section 3AA: In any other section GFW would be the #1 seed, but not this one. That goes to Marshall, and the T-birds will have their hands full dealing with the Tigers. Marshall may be too much for the Tbirds…but I’d like to see that match happen!
Section 6AA: Almost by default the #1 seed in the South half of this section is going to go to Dassel Cokato. The Chargers have the only winning record in the south. DC would be a #6 or #7 seed at best in the North half of this section. Sauk Centre and Little Falls headline the list of favorites.
Section 2AAA: Hutchinson should get the #2 seed in this uber-competitive section. Old nemesis Shakopee waits as the #1 seed. Tigers never could get by them when they were in the same conference, but these aren’t your father’s Sabres. A Hutch/Shako matchup would be big-time. But neither team can ignore the field of Chanhassen, Waconia, or Delano. All of which should finish the season with 20 or more wins as well.