The first round of the playoffs is where most of the more lopsided matchups happen in the postseason. Sunday's matchup between the Malvern Hornets and the Cuyahoga Heights Redskins is one of those matchups, the Redskins projected to advance to the second round with a 44-9 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 2019 season with a loss. Malvern comes in as Division 7's 54th-ranked team. Cuyahoga Heights comes in ranked 3rd. A new matchup on the schedule for each team, Sunday's game is a chance for each to test its skills and strategies against an unfamiliar opponent. Usually, matchups from the previous year are used in developing a strategy for upcoming games. For these two, no such opportunity will be afforded.
Malvern comes off of a 41-0 loss against the Sandy Valley Cardinals and will look to rebound this week as they hope to finish out the season strong. Particularly in recent weeks, the Hornets offense has struggled to put points on the board. In their last 2 games, they've put up an average of 21 points per game. Throughout the course of the season, they've averaged 26.3, which ranks 40th in Division 7. On defense, they rank 63rd in the division, giving up 28.2 points per game.
Cuyahoga Heights will look to continue the momentum of their 6-game winning streak, the most recent addition to which was a 31-7 win against the Independence Blue Devils last week, bringing their record to 8-1. The Redskins offense is one of the most high-powered in their division, particularly in recent weeks. For the year, they rank 9th in Division 7 with 35.7 points per game. Over the last 5 weeks, they've scored an average of 35.7. While their offense is solid, the defense deserves equal credit for the season's successes. Their 7.4 points allowed per game ranks 2nd in the division and continues to get better week by week - in their last 2 games, they've given up just 3.5 points per game.
Prediction: Cuyahoga Heights to win (99.99% chance of victory)