The Euclid Panthers enters the second round of this year's postseason with a major challenge as the St. Edward Eagles come into the game projected to win by a score of 38-16. 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 13th. The Eagles come in ranked 4th. 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.
Euclid is currently on a 2-game winning streak, which they hope to continue on Saturday. Coming off of a 35-0 win against the Austintown-Fitch Falcons, they are 9-2 and their confidence continues to build as they finish up the year. In recent weeks, the Panthers haven't been quite as successful producing points but they remain the 8th-ranked offense in Division 1, scoring an average of 34.3 points per game. While their offense is solid, the defense deserves equal credit for the season's successes. Their 12.7 points allowed per game ranks 6th 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.
St. Edward will be looking to put together a win streak coming off of a 21-19 win over the St. Ignatius Wildcats last week, which brings their record to 7-3. The Eagles offense is the 23rd-ranked offense in Division 1, scoring an average of 27.8 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 14 points per game. On defense, they've been just as strong. Allowing just 16.9 points per game over the course of the season, their defense ranks 22nd in their division. Over the last 6 weeks, they've been even more proficient, giving up just 15 points per game.
Prediction: St. Edward to win (97.86% chance of victory)