The state semifinals are here, when we finally get to see who truly deserves a shot at taking home a state championship. Saturday's matchup between the Kirtland Hornets and the Fort Frye Cadets is one of those matchups, the Hornets projected to advance to the second round with a 37-8 victory. 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. Kirtland comes in as Division 6's 2nd-ranked team. Fort Frye comes in ranked 7th. A new game on the schedule for both teams, it should shape out as an unpredictable affair. Strategically, this might lead to complications that could throw off the gameplan of either team.
Looking to build upon their 13-game winning streak, Kirtland comes into the week at 13-0. After their 20-14 win against the Mogadore Wildcats, they are confident in their ability to finish strong. The Hornets rank 6th in Division 6 on offense, scoring an average of 40.2. However, over the last 2 weeks, their average is down to 27.5 points per game. On defense, their last few weeks haven't even done justice to how good they've been all season. They've given up 7 points per game over their last 2, down from their average of 3.5, which ranks 1st in their division on the season.
For Fort Frye, Saturday is a chance to expand on a 9-game winning streak after their 18-6 win against the Shadyside Tigers brought their record to 12-0. In recent weeks, the Cadets haven't been quite as explosive on offense but they remain the 19th-ranked offense in Division 6, scoring an average of 34.8 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 11.8 points per game.
Prediction: Kirtland to win (98.52% chance of victory)