The playoffs are in full force and, in the second round, comes what could turn out to be one of the best matchups of the entire season. The Licking Valley Panthers have earned homefield advantage and will face one of their biggest challenges of the year in the Indian Valley Braves. The Panthers are projected to win the game 30-27 but nobody truly knows what's in store for Sunday's game. It's do or die for each team as always in the postseason. Regardless of the outcome, each team can take comfort in the fact that they had a successful enough season to get here, but only one team will be satisfied with the result as the other's season will end on a loss. The Braves, one of the top teams in Division 4, come into the game ranked 7th. The Panthers come in ranked 10th. A new game on the schedule for both teams, it should shape out as an unpredictable affair. Stylistically and schematically, past matchups are often used as a guiding tool. This week, however, each team will likely take time to adjust to an unfamiliar opponent, which should make for some added excitement.
Indian Valley comes into the game on a 5-game winning streak. After last week's 16-14 win against the John Glenn Little Muskies, they are 10-1 and look to continue the positive momentum. The Braves has one of the best offenses in the entire state, ranking 23rd with 43.4. However, they have come back towards earth lately, averaging 34 points per game over the last 2 weeks. On defense, they've been just as strong. Allowing just 15.9 points per game over the course of the season, their defense ranks 18th in their division. Over the last 2 weeks, they've been even more proficient, giving up just 10 points per game.
Licking Valley is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 2-game winning streak, including last week's 36-12 win against the Gallia Academy Blue Devils. That brings their record to 8-3 as they look to add another notch to the win column. The Panthers rank 21st in Division 4 on offense, scoring an average of 34.5. However, over the last 3 weeks, their average is down to 28.67 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 11.9 points per game.
Prediction: Licking Valley to win (63.17% chance of victory)