The Whitmer Panthers are looking to mount a deep playoff run, which they hope will end in a state championship, beginning with a game they're projected to win 38-18 over the Olentangy Orange Pioneers. 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. The Pioneers rank 32nd in the division while the Panthers rank 7th. 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.
Olentangy Orange is currently on a 3-game winning streak, which they hope to continue on Friday. Coming off of a 17-0 win against the Westerville South Wildcats, they are 7-3 and their confidence continues to build as they finish up the year. The Pioneers offense hasn't been particularly great this season in terms of point production, a trend which continues into recent weeks. Over their last 3 games, they've scored an average of 16 points - this season they've averaged 26, which ranks 32nd in Division 1. Their defense hasn't been much better throughout the course of the season, ranking 21st with an average of 16.6 points allowed per game. In recent weeks, they have improved, giving up an average of 1.5 points over their last 2 games.
Whitmer is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 4-game winning streak, including last week's 42-7 win against the Findlay Trojans. That brings their record to 8-2 as they look to add another notch to the win column. Scoring an average of 34.2 points per game on offense, the Panthers rank 10th in Division 1. They've been even more dominant in recent weeks, scoring an average of 42 over their last 2 games. Their defense ranks 35th in their division allowing an average of 18.9 points per game, but they have shown improvement in recent weeks - in their last 6 games, they've given up an average of 15 points.
Prediction: Whitmer to win (99.60% chance of victory)