The postseason has arrived and the Bishop Hartley Hawks enter their first round matchup against the Athens Bulldogs projected to win by a score of 32-21. The playoffs are the best time of the year but also come with a great deal of drama as many powerhouses will even see their seasons cut short. Each week, it's do or die and, after this week is complete, half of the current playoff teams will be eliminated. The Bulldogs, one of the top teams in Division 3, come into the game ranked 10th. The Hawks come in ranked 2nd. 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. Usually, matchups from the previous year are used in developing a strategy for upcoming games. For these two, no such opportunity will be afforded.
Looking to build upon their 8-game winning streak, Athens comes into the week at 9-1. After their 49-14 win against the Nelsonville-York Buckeyes, they are confident in their ability to finish strong. The Bulldogs offense has been one of the best in the division, especially in recent weeks. For the year, they rank 4th in Division 3 with 41.4 points per game. Over the last 2 weeks, they've scored an average of 41.4. On defense, they've been just as strong. Allowing just 16.8 points per game over the course of the season, their defense ranks 21st in their division. Over the last 7 weeks, they've been even more proficient, giving up just 13 points per game.
For Bishop Hartley, Friday is a chance to expand on a 5-game winning streak after their 6-3 win against the St. Charles Cardinals brought their record to 8-2. In recent weeks, the Hawks haven't been quite as explosive on offense but they remain the 10th-ranked offense in Division 3, scoring an average of 36 points per game. Their defense ranks 53rd in their division allowing an average of 21.6 points per game, but they have shown improvement in recent weeks - in their last 4 games, they've given up an average of 15.75 points.
Prediction: Bishop Hartley to win (99.28% chance of victory)