Weekend Watch: Five must-see matches

Shelby Wimsatt of McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.) turns upfield during the Eagles' 2-0 victory over Lenape (Medford, N.J.) on Sept. 11. Sheldon Shealer/ESPNHS

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, the Saturday slate is loaded with eight POWERADE FAB 50 Top 25 teams in action, including important clashes in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest.

Saturday, Sept. 24

No. 3 Carmel (Carmel, Ind.) vs. No. 21 Dublin Coffman (Dublin, Ohio): This match has national title implications because the only way Carmel stays in front of No. 4 Walsh Jesuit is with a convincing win over Dublin Coffman. Walsh Jesuit defeated Dublin Coffman, 2-0, last Saturday.

No. 4 Walsh Jesuit (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) vs. Brebeuf Jesuit (Indianapolis, Ind.): While Walsh Jesuit enters as a clear favorite, Brebeuf Jesuit is a dangerous opponent. Brebeuf has a win over Cathedral (Indianpolis, Ind.), one of the state’s stronger programs.

No. 6 McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.) vs. No. 34 Strongsville (Strongsville, Ohio): Historically, these two programs have been two of the best, not only in terms of results but also their willingness to travel the country to seek out top opponents. Now, they will meet for the first time. Both programs were Preseason Top 5 squads, but early losses have altered their ranking position in recent weeks. Strongsville is back to full strength and returning a Division I-bound player who missed the team’s two losses. Meanwhile, McDonogh will have the benefit of playing on its home field. This outcome will go a long way in justifying which is stronger this year – the East Coast or Midwest.

No. 17 La Salle Academy (Providence, R.I.) vs. No. 19 Bishop Feehan (Attleboro, Mass.): The Northeast schools seldom play outside their boundaries, which makes this an important meeting. La Salle is a clear favorite in Rhode Island, but winning a state title in a classification that has only 15 schools doesn’t do much to justify a national ranking. Therefore, La Salle’s showing against Feehan and Feehan’s subsequent showing in a more competitive Massachusetts playoff system will give fair gauge for both programs.

No. 24 Franklin (Franklin, Tenn.) vs. Father Ryan (Nashville, Tenn.): Franklin's perfect start could be put to the test by Father Ryan, a perennial private school frontrunner. Franklin will be favored, but certainly needs to win to keep moving up in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Last Week’s Five to Watch Results

Reigning POWERADE FAB 50 national champ Walsh Jesuit (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) played its way back into the national title chase with a 2-0 victory over Dublin Coffman, which was undefeated and unscored upon prior to the match. … Maria Carrillo (Santa Rosa, Calif.) completed a weekend sweep in Tennessee with a 2-1 win over Houston (Germantown, Tenn.). … La Salle Academy (Providence, R.I.) received scoring from players with names other than Meehan to defeat Smithfield (Smithfield, R.I.). … Downingtown West (Downingtown, Pa.) pinned a 1-0 defeat on Conestoga (Berwyn, Pa.), ending Conestoga’s perfect start and restoring a bit of confidence to a Downingtown West program that was riding a two-match losing streak. … Evansville Memorial (Evansville, Ind.), went 1-0-1 at the All Catholic Girls High School soccer tournament, defeating Bishop Dwenger (Ft. Wayne, Ind.) and tying Guerin (Noblesville, Ind.).