The second round matchup between the Hillsdale Falcons and the Fairview Apaches should be one of the more exciting matchups of the week. The Falcons come into the week projected to win by a score of 32-21. 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. The Falcons, one of the top teams in Division 6, come into the game ranked 9th. The Apaches come in ranked 34th. The teams did not appear on each other's schedules last season, which presents a degree of unpredictability. 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.
Hillsdale comes into the game on a 5-game winning streak. After last week's 36-6 win against the Northwood Rangers, they are 9-2 and look to continue the positive momentum. The Falcons have boasted one of Division 6's best offenses all season, averaging 34 points per game, which ranks 24th. In their last 4 games, they've been even better, scoring 38 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 25th in their division, allowing 16.5 points per game.
Fairview will look to continue the momentum of their 4-game winning streak, the most recent addition to which was a 35-7 win against the Gibsonburg Golden Bears last week, bringing their record to 8-3. The Apaches offense is the 20th-ranked offense in Division 6, scoring an average of 35.5 points per game over the course of the season. In their last 3 games, however, they haven't been quite as explosive as they've averaged 33 points per game. Their defense ranks 38th in their division giving up an average of 19.7 points per game, but they've been improving with each game - over the last 2 weeks, they've allowed an average of 3.5 points.
Prediction: Hillsdale to win (91.66% chance of victory)