The Licking Valley Panthers enter week 3 as 1-point underdogs against the Johnstown-Monroe Johnies, who are projected to win the game by a score of 25-24. One of the closest games on the schedule for the week, this matchup could easily go either way. The Johnies head into Thursday ranked 46th in the state and will travel to take on a fellow top-100 team as the Panthers come in ranked 90th. A major challenge on the schedule for both teams, this looks to be one of the more competitive games of the week. The teams are no strangers to one another, playing against each other in each of the last five years. Over their last 5 matchups, the Johnies have been superior, coming out on top in 3 of them. However, the past won't matter come kickoff. In last year's installment, the Johnies came out on top by a score of 10-9.
The Johnies are well on their way to a repeat playoff appearance, coming into the week projected as the region's 3rd best team. Last week's 35-25 loss against the Zanesville Blue Devils brings their record to 1-1. They are projected to finish the season 9-1, which should give them a chance to make a deep run in the postseason. Thus far, they haven't been particularly strong in terms of scoring on either side of the ball. Their offense ranks 55th in Division 5, scoring an average of 23 points per game. On defense, giving up 21 points per game, they rank 44th in the division.
After last week's 29-3 win against the Heath Bulldogs, Licking Valley is 2-0 and projected to finish 7th in the regional playoff standings. As a potential playoff bubble team, every game means that much more in the hunt for the postseason. The Panthers defense ranks 8th in Division 4, giving up 5 points per game. On offense, they score an average of 25 points per game, which ranks 44th in their division.
Prediction: Johnstown-Monroe to win (52.74% chance of victory)