The Pickerington North Panthers and the Olentangy Orange Pioneers head into a week 3 matchup on Friday looking for what will likely be a hardfought victory. While the Panthers come in as 13-point favorites, the Pioneers will look to prove that they are the truly superior team. The Panthers, one of the better teams statewide, come into the game ranked 94th. On the other hand, the Pioneers come in ranked 127th in the state and 39th in Division 1. The Pioneers will go into Friday looking to prove that, contrary to statistical analysis, they are the better team. Having matched up in 2018, there is a degree of familiarity between the two. Last season, the Panthers beat the Pioneers 42-7.
While it's early in the season, Pickerington North does not look in any better of a situation than they were last year regarding playoff contention. They finished last season 6-4 and come into the week with a current record of 0-2. Currently projected at 9th in the region, they'll need every win they can get to earn a spot in the playoffs. Thus far, they haven't been particularly strong in terms of scoring on either side of the ball. Their offense ranks 47th in Division 1, scoring an average of 18 points per game. On defense, giving up 34 points per game, they rank 62nd in the division.
Olentangy Orange may need to make some improvements in order to reach the playoffs again in 2019. After reaching the Regional Quarterfinals in 2018, they are projected to finish the season 11th in the regional playoff standings. Last week, a 17-14 win against the Hilliard Bradley Jaguars brought their record to 2-0. They'll need every win they can get moving forward to make a repeat playoff appearance. On defense, the strength of the team thus far, they rank 13th in Division 1, allowing an average of 10 points per game. Offensively, their average of 16.5 ranks 53rd in their division.
Prediction: Pickerington North to win (67.26% chance of victory)