Weekend Watch: Five must-see matches

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 top three-ranked teams in the POWERADE FAB 50 face strong weekend challenges.

Friday, Feb. 3

No. 1 Southlake Carroll (Southlake, Texas) vs. Keller (Texas): Carroll, Keller, Coppell (Texas) and Guyer (Denton, Texas) have distanced themselves from the field in the District 7-5A race. Even though league play is just beginning, it will be a surprise if these are not the top four teams at season’s end. The first significant league test for Carroll is a rematch with Keller, which it defeated 2-0 at the Colleyville Heritage Tournament. That result stands as the lone loss for Keller, which is 7-1-1.

No. 2 Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas) vs. Plano East (Plano, Texas): This District 8-5A meeting pits a pair of undefeated teams. Marcus’ defense has been nearly flawless, posting shutouts in all but two of its 12 wins. Plano East, meanwhile, has scored three or more goals in seven of its 11 outings this year en route to a 9-0-2 start.

No. 3 George Jenkins (Lakeland, Fla.) vs. Fleming Island (Fla.): George Jenkins will be the first team to lock up a national top five ranking this season if it pulls off back-to-back wins in the Class 4A state semifinals and final. In order to reach next Saturday’s final, however, George Jenkins, led by Florida State signee Tori Abnathy, will need to get past a Fleming Island team that is 19-1-1. Abnathy has scored 45 goals this year. Fleming Island is a team built around its defense and keeper Katie Nimitz.

No. 15 St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) vs. Cypress Bay (Weston, Fla.): Cypress Bay edged Lourdes (Miami) 2-1 in the regional final to get a crack at St. Thomas Aquinas in Friday’s Class 5A state semifinals. St. Thomas Aquinas has not lost to a team from Florida since the 2010 playoffs.

Saturday, Feb. 4

Tupelo (Miss.) vs. Brandon (Miss.): Tupelo is aiming to finish off a perfect season when it meets Brandon in the Class 6A final Saturday evening. Tupelo finally got past Madison Central, beating its playoff nemesis 1-0 in the state semifinals. The past four years, Madison Central beat Tupelo and the past three years went on to win the state title. Tupelo, at 22-0, will be favored in the final against Brandon.