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Weekend Watch: Five must-see matches

3/16/2012

Each week during the high school season, ESPNHS highlights five weekend matches that have a compelling storyline or could have significant state, region and/or national implications.

This week, with California finished and Texas on spring break, the focus shifts to the spring states and this week’s Brine High School Tournament of Champions in Jekyll Island, Ga.

Friday, March 16

Spring No. 20 Auburn (Ala.) vs. Spring No. 23 Union (Tulsa, Okla.)

This Brine High School Tournament of Champions clash might be the most important match this weekend in terms of national perspective. Not only is this a meeting between POWERADE FAB 50 teams, but by extension this result helps make sense of every spring-playing state from Georgia to Oklahoma. Union and its rivals face teams from Tennessee and Arkansas. Auburn and its potential playoff foes play teams in Georgia. On the field, this is an interesting match-up pitting Liberty signee Tim Harbison and Memphis signee Jack Goldberg for Auburn against Tulsa signee Cristian Mata from Union.

Spring No. 39 Parkview (Lilburn, Ga.) vs. South Gwinnett (Snellville, Ga.)

Parkview’s two-game sweep in Alabama reinforced Georgia’s strength on the high school side, so now it’s time to return to instate action. Parkview is 2-2-2 against Georgia teams, losing to the current POWERADE FAB 50 No. 1 and 3 teams. South Gwinnett enters the contest at 6-1-1 overall.

Saturday, March 17

Spring No. 23 Union (Tulsa, Okla.) vs. Spring No. 49 Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.)

On the heels of Union’s Friday match with Auburn (Ala.), this Oklahoma frontrunner then faces a second of three POWERADE FAB 50 teams Saturday morning. Wheeler, which made a debut in the rankings this week, will need a strong showing at the Brine High School Tournament of Champions to remain ranked among the elite.

Spring No. 4 St. Pius (Atlanta) vs. Spring No. 23 Union (Tulsa, Okla.)

This Saturday evening showcase event at the Brine Tournament of Champions marks Union’s third match against a POWERADE FAB 50 team in a 24-hour window. If Union sweeps all three matches, it will need to vault into the Top 10, perhaps higher, based on its strength of schedule. St. Pius was last year’s POWERADE FAB 50 national champion. St. Pius will need to be perfect at the Brine ToC to remain a national title contender in 2012.

Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.) vs. Kennedy Catholic (Burien, Wash.)

With the state of Washington in flux as the Academy players did not return for the spring, small-school programs Eastside Catholic and Kennedy Catholic are showing signs of being among the best teams in the Seattle area. Eastside has shut out all three opponents to date, which includes a 3-0 win over a perennially strong Seattle Prep (Seattle) program that had edged state-ranked Jackson(Mill Creek, Wash.) earlier in the week.