One of the most highly anticipated matchups of the first round comes between the Sheridan Generals and the Bellbrook Golden Eagles, the Generals projected to win by a score of 30-26. The playoffs are an interesting time of year as 7 teams fulfill their most ambitious goal in winning a state championship while the other 217 playoff teams will end their season with a loss. This matchup is no different as the winner will continue their playoff run while the loser will end its 2018 season with a loss. Sheridan comes in as Division 3's 22nd-ranked team. Bellbrook comes in ranked 23rd. A new game on the schedule for both teams, it should shape out as an unpredictable affair. Usually, matchups from the previous year are used in developing a strategy for upcoming games. For these two, no such opportunity will be afforded.
Sheridan is currently on a 3-game winning streak, which they hope to continue on Friday. Coming off of a 68-7 win against the Morgan Raiders, they are 9-1 and their confidence continues to build as they finish up the year. The Generals score an average of 44.8 points per game, which ranks 18th in the state offensively. In recent weeks, they've been even more proficient, scoring an average of 54.5 points per game over their last 2 games. While their offense is extremely productive, the defense is what allows them to win games by such substantial margins. Giving up just 6.9 points per game, they rank 11th in the state. In their last 3 games, they've been even more stout, giving up an average of 2.33 points.
Bellbrook is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 10-game winning streak, including last week's 41-10 win against the Monroe Hornets. That brings their record to 10-0 as they look to add another notch to the win column. The Golden Eagles offense is one of the most high-powered in their division, particularly in recent weeks. For the year, they rank 7th in Division 3 with 38.2 points per game. Over the last 3 weeks, they've scored an average of 38.2. While recent games have affected averages negatively, their defense is one of the best as well. They rank 6th in their division, giving up an average of 10.9 points per game.
Prediction: Sheridan to win (77.48% chance of victory)