Anything can happen in the playoffs. This is why the Elder Panthers come into the regional finals expecting a victory over the Colerain Cardinals, despite the fact the Cardinals are projected to win the game by a score of 34-17. 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 Panthers, one of the top teams in Division 1, come into the game ranked 16th. The Cardinals come in ranked 1st. The teams did not appear on each other's schedules last season, which presents a degree of unpredictability. Usually, matchups from the previous year are used in developing a strategy for upcoming games. For these two, no such opportunity will be afforded.
Elder comes into the game on a 4-game winning streak. After last week's 34-6 win against the Lakota East Thunderhawks, they are 8-4 and look to continue the positive momentum. The Panthers have boasted one of Division 1's best offenses all season, averaging 28.3 points per game, which ranks 22nd. In their last 2 games, they've been even better, scoring 34.5 points per game. Nevertheless, the defense could actually be the true strength of the team, which they've shown in their most recent contests. Over the last 2 games, they've allowed only 3 points per game. However, success on defense isn't just a recent trend - on the season, their defense ranks 19th in their division, allowing 16.8 points per game.
Colerain is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 12-game winning streak, including last week's 48-14 win against the Milford Eagles. That brings their record to 12-0 as they look to add another notch to the win column. The Cardinals rank 2nd in Division 1 on offense, scoring an average of 41. However, over the last 2 weeks, their average is down to 41.5 points per game. While their defense has given up more points than usual in recent weeks, they deserve every bit as much of the credit for this season's successes as the offense. Over the course of the season, they've given up an average of 8.1 points per game, which ranks 1st in their division.
Prediction: Colerain to win (99.96% chance of victory)