The Lakota West Firebirds head into a tough matchup this week, coming into Friday as 8-point underdogs against the Sycamore Aviators. This looks to be one of the more hotly contested matchups of the week as two relatively evenly matched teams fight to claim superiority. Sycamore, the 19th-ranked team in the state, host a fellow top-100 team this week as Lakota West comes into the game ranked 66th. Lakota West looks to silence the crowd early as Sycamore comes into the game expecting a relatively decisive victory. While a lot of factors point to a home victory, it will still require a valiant effort from the Aviators to come away with the win. The teams did not appear on each other's schedules last season, which presents a degree of unpredictability. Usually, matchups from the previous year are used in developing a strategy for upcoming games. For these two, no such opportunity will be afforded.
In 2018, Lakota West has a competitive advantage in the region as opposed to last season. After missing out on the playoffs in 2017, they sit at 1-1 and are projected to finish 7th in the regional playoff standings. So far this season, they've been lacking statistically on both sides of the ball. In Division 1, they rank 64th on offense, scoring an average of 10 points per game - on defense, they rank 48th, giving up an average of 24.
After last week's 28 - 12 win against the Mount Healthy Owls, Sycamore is 2-0 and projected to finish 5th in the regional playoff standings. As a potential playoff bubble team, every game means that much more in the hunt for the postseason. The Aviators boast one of the best defenses in their division, ranking 16th in Division 1 allowing 12.5 points per game. Offensively they score an average of 30.5 points, which ranks 26th in the division.
Prediction: Sycamore to win (80.27% chance of victory)