After a challenging regular season, all 5 junior high schools in HEB ISD have a chance to claim the Champions Cup following a four-week playoff. Although to be fair, some have a tougher path than others. Here's how the 2021 Champions Cup Playoff breaks down…
No team will be eliminated after the first round. Losing teams will have one more chance to play themselves back into contention and may be able to bounce a higher-seeded opponent from the playoffs with an upset in Round 2. Any loss in the Semifinal Round, however, will result in immediate elimination — regardless of seeding or previous record.
In the event of a rainout before the knockout stage, Round 1 fixtures and regular-season seeding will determine Semifinalists with the lowest-seeded loser eliminated.
Here's what that means for each team:
#1 Hurst City FC
The undefeated Raiders enter the Champions Cup playoffs with the most direct path to the championship game. As Top-of-Table Award winners, the Reds have the privilege of bypassing Round 1 of the playoffs and earning a guaranteed spot in the Semifinal even if they should lose in their first playoff match, although it would likely be better for them to win and avoid a potential matchup with one of two teams to push them this season: Central (who tied the Raiders 1-1) or Harwood (who narrowly lost 3-4).
#2 Blackhawk Soccer Club
Blackhawk Soccer Club may be the biggest surprise of the 2021 season. In their first full year in Liga HEB, Harwood find themselves in second place thanks to their habit of scoring goals in bunches en route to a +3 Goal Differential. A first-round win would put the Hoops into the Semifinal, while a loss would drop them directly into the losers' bracket in Round 2. Lots on the line for BSC on March 10.
#3 Bedford United
Having lost to Harwood on Decision Day but squeaked by Euless in Week 6, the Broncos find themselves in the middle of the pack thanks to the Head-to-Head tiebreaker. That sets them up for a tight first-round matchup against a team they only barely came back to defeat 2-1 in the regular season. Whoever loses the rematch will be fed directly to Hurst City in Round 2, which has historically ended poorly for just about everyone.
#4 Real Euless
The only school Not Named Hurst to win a title in the Champions Cup Era, Euless might be more excited about their first-round draw than their opponents at Bedford. The Stallions very nearly beat the Broncos earlier this year and could have snagged the second seed if they had the Goal Differential necessary to break a three-way tie. A little revenge would put them into Round 2 against either Harwood or Central — both clubs they've bested already this season.
#5 Atlético Central
In their first season under a new head coach, the ball hasn't bounced in Central's favor in 2021. Still, they're the only team in the league that Hurst City couldn't beat outright. Should their defense hold against Harwood, they've got a path directly to the semifinals. But if they lose, they'll be playing for their lives against either Bedford or Euless in a Round 2 knockout game. If you're a Spartan, now's the time to find your form.
For a closer look at the schedule and standings, visit 6stones.org/soccer.