The state semifinal matchup between the Mentor Cardinals and the Pickerington Central Tigers should be one of the more exciting matchups of the week. The Cardinals come into the week projected to win by a score of 33-21. 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 2019 season with a loss. Pickerington Central comes in as Division 1's 4th-ranked team. Mentor comes in ranked 3rd. A new game on the schedule for both teams, it should shape out as an unpredictable affair. Usually, matchups from the previous year are used in developing a strategy for upcoming games. For these two, no such opportunity will be afforded.
Pickerington Central is currently on a 9-game winning streak, which they hope to continue on Saturday. Coming off of a 23-7 win against the Groveport-Madison Cruisers, they are 12-1 and their confidence continues to build as they finish up the year. The Tigers offense has been one of the best in the division, especially in recent weeks. For the year, they rank 13th in Division 1 with 31.8 points per game. Over the last 5 weeks, they've scored an average of 31.8. While their offense is solid, the defense deserves equal credit for the season's successes. Their 12.7 points allowed per game ranks 7th 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.
Mentor will look to continue the momentum of their 13-game winning streak, the most recent addition to which was a 36-35 win against the St. Edward Eagles last week, bringing their record to 13-0. The Cardinals are consistently explosive on offense, ranking 9th with 44.8. However, they have come back towards earth lately, averaging 35 points per game over the last 2 weeks. On defense, their last few weeks haven't even done justice to how good they've been all season. They've given up 24 points per game over their last 2, down from their average of 13.2, which ranks 9th in their division on the season.
Prediction: Mentor to win (93.36% chance of victory)