Anything can happen in the playoffs. This is why the Van Wert Cougars come into the second round expecting a victory over the Memorial Rough Riders, despite the fact the Rough Riders are projected to win the game by a score of 39-24. 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. Van Wert comes in as Division 4's 31st-ranked team. Memorial comes in ranked 5th. This is a chance for the Cougars to avenge a loss from earlier on in the regular season, when the Rough Riders beat them 38-6. They also played last season, a matchup in which the Rough Riders got the better of the Cougars, winning by a score of 50-34.
Van Wert is currently on a 8-game winning streak, which they hope to continue on Sunday. Coming off of a 33-14 win against the Huron Tigers, they are 9-2 and their confidence continues to build as they finish up the year. The Cougars offense has been one of the best in the division, especially in recent weeks. For the year, they rank 18th in Division 4 with 34.9 points per game. Over the last 6 weeks, they've scored an average of 34.9. Their defense ranks 29th in their division giving up an average of 18.9 points per game, but they've been improving with each game - over the last 2 weeks, they've allowed an average of 7 points.
After a 48-13 win against the Orange Lions brought their record to 10-1, Memorial will be looking to carry that momentum over and earn another victory. The Rough Riders have been extremely impressive on offense all season, scoring 45.3 points per game, which ranks 13th in the state. In recent weeks, they've cooled off a little, scoring 36 points per game in their last 2 games. While recent games have affected averages negatively, their defense is one of the best as well. They rank 10th in their division, giving up an average of 12.7 points per game.
Prediction: Memorial to win (99.58% chance of victory)