In the first playoff matchup of the year for the Liberty Center Tigers, they are projected to come away with a 32-23 win over the Miami East Vikings. However, it should be one of the more hotly contested matchups of the round and all statistical predictions could easily go out the window. It's do or die for each team as always in the postseason. Regardless of the outcome, each team can take comfort in the fact that they had a successful enough season to get here, but only one team will be satisfied with the result as the other's season will end on a loss. The Vikings, one of the top teams in Division 5, come into the game ranked 14th. The Tigers come in ranked 10th. A new matchup on the schedule for each team, Saturday'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 4-game winning streak, Miami East comes into the week at 8-2. After their 53-0 win against the Twin Valley South Panthers, they are confident in their ability to finish strong. The Vikings boasts one of the most high-powered offenses in the state and has been even stronger in their most recent contests. Scoring an average of 44.7 points per game, their offense ranks 20th in the state. Over their last 4 games, they've been even more impressive, scoring an average of 58.5 points per game. While their offense is solid, the defense deserves equal credit for the season's successes. Their 11.5 points allowed per game ranks 9th in the division and continues to get better week by week - in their last 2 games, they've given up just 0 points per game.
Looking to rebound from a 34-19 loss against the Patrick Henry Patriots last week, Liberty Center will try to establish momentum early and sustain it throughout. The Tigers offense is the 23rd-ranked offense in Division 5, scoring an average of 34.4 points per game over the course of the season. In their last 2 games, however, they haven't been quite as explosive as they've averaged 23.5 points per game. On defense, their last few weeks haven't even done justice to how good they've been all season. They've given up 24 points per game over their last 2, down from their average of 11.2, which ranks 8th in their division on the season.
Prediction: Liberty Center to win (85.77% chance of victory)