Franklin’s first attempt hosting a boys soccer sectional won’t require time to build up to something special.
Not when the opening match features regional finalists from a year ago.
Center Grove, the state’s 12th-ranked squad in the newly formed Class 3A, squares off against Perry Meridian on Oct. 2. The Falcons defeated the Trojans, then the reigning 2A state champions, 1-0, at the Mount Vernon Regional.
It’s a week Franklin coach Tony Harris said can’t get here soon enough.
“This is a big deal. This is just fun,” said Harris about his program being able to roll out the welcome mat for six other teams. “For us, to have Center Grove on the other side of the bracket, that’s a win for us.
“But Whiteland and Roncalli, they’re tough teams, and Greenwood is getting itself together. This sectional is tough any way you go, but I think our guys will be heightened by the fact that we’re at home.”
On Sunday, girls and boys programs throughout the state discovered their sectional opponents as the Indiana High School Athletic Association conducted its annual postseason draw.
Center Grove (11-3-1), a program that has won 12 consecutive sectional titles and a state-best 22 overall, played and defeated three of the programs at the Franklin Sectional during the regular season – Perry Meridian (1-0), Southport (3-1) and Roncalli (1-0).
The winner of the Trojans-Falcons matchup faces Southport, which drew a bye.
“I like a challenge,” Center Grove coach Jameson McLaughlin said of a postseason rematch against Perry Meridian. “It’s two really good teams. We’ve got to play our game, and if we do that, I like our chances.”
The host Grizzly Cubs are in the bottom half of the bracket paired against Whiteland, while the Woodmen battle Roncalli.
In Class A, No. 12 Greenwood Christian Academy (10-2-1) plays host Indianapolis Lutheran in the opening match.
On the girls side, Columbus East is the host for the Class 3A sectional that includes Center Grove, Franklin, Greenwood and Whiteland. The Trojans and Warriors open play Oct. 2 with Greenwood facing Columbus North in the nightcap.
Franklin and Columbus East drew byes and therefore get to play against one another in a semifinal match. Greenwood Christian Academy plays International to start play in the Class A sectional at Indianapolis Ritter.