Orrville @ Liberty Center
Sunday, November 18, 2018
By HighSchoolBall.com Staff

The state semifinal matchup between the Liberty Center Tigers and the Orrville Red Riders should be one of the more exciting matchups of the week. The Tigers come into the week projected to win by a score of 35-27. 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 Red Riders, one of the top teams in Division 5, come into the game ranked 29th. The Tigers come in ranked 6th. 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.

Orrville is currently on a 5-game winning streak, which they hope to continue on Sunday. Coming off of a 43-19 win against the Manchester Panthers, they are 11-2 and their confidence continues to build as they finish up the year. The Red Riders score an average of 44.5 points per game, which ranks 12th in the state offensively. In recent weeks, they've been even more proficient, scoring an average of 46.67 points per game over their last 3 games. Their defense gives up an average of 21.7 points per game, ranking 39th in their division.

Liberty Center is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 3-game winning streak, including last week's 43-40 win against the Genoa Area Comets. That brings their record to 12-1 as they look to add another notch to the win column. The Tigers offense hasn't been particularly great this season in terms of point production, a trend which continues into recent weeks. Over their last 4 games, they've scored an average of 25 points - this season they've averaged 32.7, which ranks 27th in Division 5. On defense, they haven't been any better statistically, ranking 9th in their division, allowing 13.3 points per game.

Prediction: Liberty Center to win (97.79% chance of victory) 

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