Anything can happen in the playoffs. This is why the Walnut Ridge Scots come into the first round expecting a victory over the Massillon Tigers, despite the fact the Tigers are projected to win the game by a score of 37-20. 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 Scots, one of the top teams in Division 2, come into the game ranked 14th. The Tigers come in ranked 4th. A new matchup on the schedule for each team, Friday's game is a chance for each to test its skills and strategies against an unfamiliar opponent. Usually, matchups from the previous year are used in developing a strategy for upcoming games. For these two, no such opportunity will be afforded.
Walnut Ridge comes into the game on a 5-game winning streak. After last week's 35-0 win against the Columbus Independence 76ers, they are 9-1 and look to continue the positive momentum. The Scots has one of the best offenses in the entire state, ranking 5th with 48.3. However, they have come back towards earth lately, averaging 35 points per game over the last 2 weeks. The defense has been equally as impressive, ranking 19th in the state allowing just 8.2 points per game.
Massillon will look to continue the momentum of their 10-game winning streak, the most recent addition to which was a 24-17 win against the McKinley Bulldogs last week, bringing their record to 10-0. The Tigers have been extremely impressive on offense all season, scoring 48 points per game, which ranks 6th in the state. In recent weeks, they've cooled off a little, scoring 32.5 points per game in their last 2 games. 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 11.2 points per game, which ranks 9th in their division.
Prediction: Massillon to win (98.74% chance of victory)