Typically, the first round consists largely of vastly superior teams beating up on other teams in their region that just so happened to get in with enough playoff points. This likely will not be one of those matchups as the New Philadelphia Quakers head into Saturday projected to beat the Kenston Bombers by a score of 33-26. 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 Bombers, one of the top teams in Division 3, come into the game ranked 5th. The Quakers come in ranked 13th. 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. 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.
Last week, Kenston dropped a game 24-21 against the Mayfield Wildcats. They'll look to get in the win column this week as they hope to finish out the season on a positive note. In recent weeks, the Bombers haven't been quite as successful producing points but they remain the 21st-ranked offense in Division 3, scoring an average of 34 points per game. While recent games have affected averages negatively, their defense is one of the best as well. They rank 9th in their division, giving up an average of 10.5 points per game.
Coming off of a 34-28 loss against the Dover Tornadoes, New Philadelphia, hopes to build some momentum and rebound strongly with a win. The Quakers offense is one of the most high-powered in their division, particularly in recent weeks. For the year, they rank 5th in Division 3 with 41.1 points per game. Over the last 4 weeks, they've scored an average of 41.1. 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 12.7 points per game, which ranks 16th in their division.
Prediction: New Philadelphia to win (62.50% chance of victory)