It looks like the weather will not be a factor in today's games, and, with a nightcap in North Fulton, true 5A lax fans could catch a couple of these games:
-- Pope (8-11) @ Decatur (12-7) - To call the Pope Greyhounds enigmatic is an understatement. They entered the playoffs with a losing record and a 5 loss streak, but they handled higher seeded HIES easily with a 16-6 1st round win. It's hard to believe that their best win was 7-4 over Blessed Trinity back in March. It's hard to say which Pope team will show up today... the one that took Northview to OT early on, or the team that lost a crucial Area 2 game to Toona???
Decatur needed overtime to top BT in the opening round, and the Bulldogs are a bit of a mystery themselves. They've had some close losses against good teams (Johns Creek, MBA & Walton), but had some lopsided results against teams like Northview, Westy and Hooch. This one could go either way, but it just seems to feel like the kind of game Pope could wake up for.
-- Marist (15-3) @ Lovett (16-3) - These two had very different 1st Round games... Marist struggled to take down Cambridge 5-3, while Lovett breezed past Riverwood 17-3. Marist closed their regular season by beating SPX to gain the #2 seed, but they really haven't played the kind of schedule that prepares a team for the post-season.
The Lovett Lions have won 6 in a row since their OT loss to Milton in mid-April, but the bulk of those wins were against relatively weak Area 1 competition. Their best wins were over Hooch, Lambert and Pope earlier in the season. This game isn't likely to be close unless Lovett is looking forward to the Battle of Buckhead rematch against rival Westy.
-- Allatoona (13-6) @ Northview (18-1) - With at least a close game today, Toona will signal that they are a growing power in 5A. They completed rare back-to-back wins over the same team by beating McIntosh 13-5 in the 1st Round. Their best win was 14-12 over Area 2 rival Pope, but the Bucs have yet to show that they can hang close against a top tier team.
And the one loss Northview Titans are definitely a top tier team... they cruised past Benedictine 19-8 in the opening round. The Titans' only blemish this season was an 11-14 loss to Johns Creek, and they beat 5 of the other 7 5A playoff teams at some point this season. But they have looked a bit more vulnerable lately than earlier in the season. The loss to JC came on 4/22, and a week later they scraped by Blessed Trinity 13-11.
-- Greater Atlanta Christian (14-5) @ Westminster (17-2) - The GAC Spartans have had a solid season and used their #2 seed to top St. Pius 7-6 in the opening round of playoffs. With 4 of their 5 losses to 6A teams, their only loss in 5A was to Northview 5-12. This is another team that probably needs to ramp up their schedule in the future to be more battle-tested. They had a pair of non-Area games against weaker Area 1 teams, and the 6A Area 4 teams they played were not contenders with the exception of Roswell.
The Wildcats have battled injuries all season long, but they got their playoff run off to a good start with a 16-6 win over Pace Academy. Since falling to Northview 6-7 on March 29, Westy has won 8 in a row, including wins over Decatur, Lovett, Walton, Toona and Pope. They should be able to take care of business today unless they are looking ahead to a rematch with Lovett.