Top seeds did quite well in the opening round with the exception of two places, but the wins by Sterling Newman and Bishop McNamara did not come as huge surprises considering the pedigree of the two schools in the postseason.
First round picks: 16-0
Wilmington (10-0) at Sterling Newman (7-3): This doesn’t feel like a game that should be contested in a second-round game. Both of these schools have a long history of being postseason stalwarts and both have many similarities in how they tend to attack things. Both teams are devoted to running the football and will likely only throw if absolutely required or to completely surprise the opponent.
Erie (8-2) at Bishop McNamara (6-4): Erie finished off Clifton Central with a strong second-half effort, but it likely won’t have the luxury of waiting until the end of the game to try to runaway from this week’s opponent. Bishop McNamara looks like a real threat coming out of the No. 13 seed slot after having a rough start to the season.
Pick: Bishop McNamara
Deer Creek-Mackinaw (7-3) at Tri-Valley (10-0): Tri-Valley had little difficulty dispatching Deer Creek-Mackinaw in a 49-8 win in Week 2 and that was fairly common for the Vikings during the regular season. But they got a legitimate scare from Rockridge in round 1, and it will probably be a lesson they can take forward.
Tremont (8-2) at Farmington (10-0): Farmington has absolutely overpowered everyone it has played thus far this season and rolled to a win over El Paso-Gridley in the opening round of the playoffs. And that doesn’t bode well for Tremont either as that’s the same El Paso-Gridley squad that Tremont barely got by in Week 8.
Vandalia (8-2) at Decatur St. Teresa (10-0): St. Teresa continued to flex its offensive muscle by rolling to a 62-7 win in the opening round over Flora and it will likely to continue to push the envelope. Vandalia’s defense has shown moments of being pretty strong this season, but against quality competition the Vandals have had a hard time keeping opponents in check.
Pick: Decatur St. Teresa
Johnston City (9-1) at Breese Mater Dei (10-0): The construction of a loaded 2A bracket meant that some very good teams were going to lock horns very early in the bracket. That’s certainly the case here. Breese Mater Dei plays an odd schedule because of its status of an independent, but a few “prove it” games all went Mater Dei’s way.
Pick: Breese Mater Dei
Maroa-Forsyth (8-2) at Pana (10-0): Pana plowed through its regular season undeterred but it still feels like the Panthers are a bit underrated by most. And while this still looks like a daunting second-round matchup, Maroa-Forsyth might not be quite the high hurdle it has been in previous postseasons. The Trojans uncharacteristically dropped two regular-season games and also didn’t exactly run away and hide from Westville in their playoff opener.
Nashville (9-1) at Bismarck-Henning (10-0): Nashville has found itself in both the 2A and 3A fields in recent seasons and sliding down to the Class 2A field for this season means the Hornets are a squad that have to be reckoned with. Bismarck-Henning has looked like a dominant beast at times this season but also have had a game or two where things didn’t go quite as smooth.