The Northmont Thunderbolts and the Fairmont Firebirds meet on Friday for what looks like a relatively one-sided matchup. The Thunderbolts are projected to win by a score of 41 - 19 and have a 93.01% chance to win outright. The Thunderbolts rank 22nd in the state while the Firebirds rank 126th in the state and 47th in Division 1. The Thunderbolts come into the week expecting the home victory, which is the most probable outcome. However, the upset-minded Firebirds will come in looking to prove preconceived notions wrong. A new matchup on the schedule for each team, Friday's game is a chance for each to test its skills and strategies against an unfamiliar opponent. Stylistically and schematically, past matchups are often used as a guiding tool. This week, however, each team will likely take time to adjust to an unfamiliar opponent, which should make for some added excitement.
After reaching the Regional Quarterfinals in 2017, the Firebirds head into week 2 projected as the region's 12th best team in the playoff rankings. They'll likely need to exceed their projected record of 4-6 in order to establish themselves as postseason contenders in 2018. One of the best defensive performances for any Division 1 team in week 1 is something to get excited about - typically, the defenses are more likely to struggle early on in the season. After their season-opening 12 - 6 win against the Archbishop Alter Knights, the Firebirds will look to improve offensively and maintain their defensive dominance as they look to put together a successful start to the 2018 season.
Northmont, after a playoff appearance last season, is poised to make another run in 2018. They enter the game projected to make the playoffs as a 9-1 team, which should be good for 3rd in the region. As 0-point underdogs against the Lima Senior Spartans in week 1, the Thunderbolts ended up with their first win of the season by a score of 56 - 13. In that week, they ranked in the top 25 for their division on both sides of the ball, finishing the first week ranked 1st in Division 1 on offense and 22nd on defense.
Prediction: Northmont to win (93.01% chance of victory)