The Public School Athletic League high school football playoffs begin this weekend and eight of the 16 teams in the championship bracket are from Brooklyn. Lincoln and Erasmus Hall are the favorites to reach the city title game at Yankee Stadium in December, but it should be an exciting run leading up to the Bronx.
Here are the first round matchups:
No. 1 Lincoln (9-0) vs No. 16 Midwood (5-4)
No. 2 Erasmus Hall (8-1) vs No. 15 Campus Magnet (4-5)
No. 3 Tottenville (7-2) vs No. 14 Canarsie (4-5)
No. 4 Flushing (7-2) vs No. 13 Curtis (4-5)
No. 5 New Dorp (7-2) vs No. 12 Port Richmond (5-4)
No. 6 Boys and Girls (6-3) vs No. 11 Grand Street Campus (6-3)
No. 7 JFK (6-3) vs No. 10 Fort Hamilton (5-4)
No. 8 New Utrecht (6-3) vs No. 9 Clinton (5-4)
THE TEAM TO BEAT: This one is obvious — Lincoln High School. They were the only undefeated team in the PSAL with over many of these playoff teams including Erasmus Hall, Tottenville, Boys and Girls, New Utrecht, Fort Hamilton, Curtis, Campus Magnet and Midwood. They’re also going to have the easiest schedule as they took the No. 1 seed.
THE SLEEPER: I want to pick somebody besides Erasmus Hall here, but I just can’t. While they are not exactly sleepers, Erasmus Hall is by far the next most likely to win this tournament. Just look at Tottenville, the No. 3 seed, they got beaten badly by both E-Hall and Lincoln. Even impressive teams like Fort Hamilton and Boys and Girls don’t have the star quality and depth to match up with the two powerhouses from Brooklyn.
UPSET ALERT: When trying to pick this category, I keep thinking back to Canarsie’s Week 3 win over Flushing High School. Flushing also lost to Campus Magnet during Week 6. Those two loses are black eyes on an otherwise impressive team. If any of the favorites lose during Week 1, I have to go with Flushing and if it’s not in Week 1 it’s hard to see them getting past Week 2.
WHO WINS: Let’s be honest, Lincoln beat up on Erasmus Hall during their regular season game in Coney Island. However, the Railsplitters won’t have the home field advantage in Yankee Stadium and you can be sure that the Dutchmen are using that game as motivation. Because of those two reasons, I have to go with Erasmus Hall as my pick to win this year’s city title.
WEEK ONE PREDICTIONS: Lincoln over Midwood, E-Hall over Campus Magnet, Tottenville over Canarsie, Curtis over Flushing, New Dorp over Port Richmond, Boys and Girls over Grand Street, Fort Hamilton over JFK, and New Utrecht over Clinton.