John Brezenski could probably come up with a million words to describe the feelings he has on his team's district.
But he chooses one more than most.
“Brutal,” the Columbus Scotus boys soccer coach said.
Hard to blame him when looking at the Class B No. 7 Shamrocks' draw. Brezenski's group opens B-4 play at Wilderness Park in Columbus on Monday with a 4 p.m. first-round match against a Columbus Lakeview team that had an identical record when district pairings were released.
A win would earn Scotus a semifinal match with second-ranked Schuyler on Tuesday. Get through that and the survivor of the other side of the bracket — which includes No. 5 South Sioux City and sixth-ranked Columbus — awaits for the title.
Class B districts are decided by geography, unlike Class A which seeds the class late in the season according to power points.
“It's kind of a yearly deal,” Brezenski said of the annually tough district. “The kids know it. They knew going into the year that if we were going to get to state we'd have to run the gauntlet.”
As he usually does, Brezenski said he beefed up the Shamrock schedule to better prepare his team for the possibility of three tough games in four days with the season on the line. Before a loss Thursday to Class A Papillion-La Vista, Scotus' only losses had come to Class B No. 1 Omaha Skutt, Columbus and previously ranked Lincoln Pius X of Class A.
“We had played well the whole month of April up to that loss to Papio,” Brezenski said. “And we played well the next day.”
Add in a loaded District B-3 field with three rated teams and at least three teams in the final regular-season rankings will be kept from the state tournament. Should any of the top teams in the other four districts fall, that number could grow.
The field for state, which is next week at Creighton's Morrison Stadium, consists of the six district winners and two wild cards.
Though it faces the uphill battle of three tough games, Brezenski said his team remains confident.
“I think if we play our best we can win it,” he said. “I think we have just as good a chance as the top three seeds ahead of us. I think it's really up in the air.”
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