This week, the battle between the Hoban Knights and the Massillon Tigers is one of the most competitive matchups we've seen in a long time in terms of state championship games. The Knights come into the game projected to win by a score of 33-28 as the Tigers look to prove they are, indeed, the best team in the state for Division 2. The playoffs are the best time of the year but also come with a great deal of drama as many powerhouses will even see their seasons cut short. Each week, it's do or die and, after this week is complete, half of the current playoff teams will be eliminated. The Knights rank 1st in the division while the Tigers rank 4th. The teams did not appear on each other's schedules last season, which presents a degree of unpredictability. Stylistically and schematically, past matchups are often used as a guiding tool. This week, however, each team will likely take time to adjust to an unfamiliar opponent, which should make for some added excitement.
Hoban comes into the game on a 14-game winning streak. After last week's 42-7 win against the Avon Eagles, they are 14-0 and look to continue the positive momentum. The Knights has one of the best offenses in the entire state, ranking 9th with 44.6. However, they have come back towards earth lately, averaging 43 points per game over the last 5 weeks. While their offense is extremely productive, the defense is what allows them to win games by such substantial margins. Giving up just 9.8 points per game, they rank 18th in the state. In their last 5 games, they've been even more stout, giving up an average of 4 points.
Massillon is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 14-game winning streak, including last week's 41-20 win against the Winton Woods Warriors. That brings their record to 14-0 as they look to add another notch to the win column. The Tigers have been extremely impressive on offense all season, scoring 45.9 points per game, which ranks 5th in the state. In recent weeks, they've cooled off a little, scoring 37.2 points per game in their last 5 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 13 points per game, which ranks 10th in their division.
Prediction: Hoban to win (87.39% chance of victory)