The playoffs are in full force and, in the regional finals, comes what could turn out to be one of the best matchups of the entire season. The Mentor Cardinals have earned homefield advantage and will face one of their biggest challenges of the year in the St. Edward Eagles. The Eagles are projected to win the game 28-26 but nobody truly knows what's in store for Saturday'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 Eagles rank 2nd in the division while the Cardinals rank 3rd. A rematch from earlier in the season, look for this to be one of the more emotional battles of the week. In the regular season, the Cardinals won 29-28 so the Eagles will be looking for revenge. They also played twice last season so there's a sense of rivalry going into the week. The Cardinals won the 2018 regular season matchup 42-39, but their season came to an end at the hands of the Eagles, who won the playoff matchup 24-14.
Looking to build upon their 11-game winning streak, St. Edward comes into the week at 11-1. After their 47-9 win against the Euclid Panthers, they are confident in their ability to finish strong. The Eagles offense has been one of the best in the division, especially in recent weeks. For the year, they rank 2nd in Division 1 with 39.4 points per game. Over the last 2 weeks, they've scored an average of 39.4. On defense, their last few weeks haven't even done justice to how good they've been all season. They've given up 23.5 points per game over their last 2, down from their average of 18.5, which ranks 23rd in their division on the season.
Mentor is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 12-game winning streak, including last week's 34-13 win against the McKinley Bulldogs. That brings their record to 12-0 as they look to add another notch to the win column. The Cardinals are consistently explosive on offense, ranking 9th with 45.5. However, they have come back towards earth lately, averaging 41.5 points per game over the last 2 weeks. While their defense has given up more points than usual in recent weeks, they deserve every bit as much of the credit for this season's successes as the offense. Over the course of the season, they've given up an average of 11.3 points per game, which ranks 4th in their division.
Prediction: St. Edward to win (83.44% chance of victory)