The Wheelersburg Pirates enter the season confident that they will finish their week 1 matchup on the winning end. Heading into Friday as a 19-point favorite over the Ironton Fighting Tigers, the Pirates will look to control the game early and prove they're the better team. Wheelersburg ranks 20th in the state, compared to Ironton, who ranks 271st in the state and 27th in Division 5. The Pirates travel to the home field of the Fighting Tigers expecting a win. However, the Fighting Tigers will pay little attention to pregame predictions as they look to defend their home field. The teams have played each other in each of the last five years so neither is likely to surprise the other. Over their last 5 matchups, the Pirates have won 5, a trend they hope to continue. In last year's installment, the Pirates came out on top by a score of 28-6.
While it's a little early to be talking about playoffs, Wheelersburg would be extremely disappointed if they missed out on the postseason - after losing in the State Semifinals in 2018 to the Johnstown-Monroe Johnies by a score of 32-14, the Pirates are poised to make another run at the playoffs. Coming in with a projected regular season record of 9-1, the goal is to improve each week so they can make a deep run when the time comes. They are projected to finish 1st with 30.2000 playoff points. They were proficient on both sides of the ball last season, scoring 33.9 points per game on offense and giving up 11.3 points per game on defense, which ranked 22nd and 6th in their division respectively.
Ironton, a playoff team in 2018, is ready for another playoff run in 2019. They are projected to finish the season as the region's 4th best team and go into the playoffs with a 8-2 regular season record. In 2019, the Fighting Tigers will look to improve offensively and defensively. Last season, their offense ranked 39th in Division 5 scoring an average of 28.7 points per game while their defense, allowing 20.3 points per game, ranked 20.3
Prediction: Wheelersburg to win (98.63% chance of victory)