As the end of the season draws near, playoffs are the only thing on any team's mind that still stands a reasonable chance. On Friday, two of these teams meet - the Mayfield Wildcats and the Kenston Bombers. The Wildcats come into the game projected to enter the playoffs as Region 5's 2nd best team at 10-0. The Bombers come into the game projected to finish 8-2 as Region 9's 7th best team. Mayfield will enter the game as a 9-point favorite, projected to win the game 32-23. Friday's matchup will feature two of the state's top 100 teams. The Wildcats come into the game ranked 44th in the state while the Bombers come in ranked 23rd. Kenston will be tested at home against a formidable Mayfield team. While the road team is expected to get the victory, overcoming homefield advantage could be a major challenge for Friday's favorite. There is a certain degree of familiarity between the two teams after they faced off last season. Last year, the Bombers got the better of the Wildcats, winning by a score of 42-28.
Looking to build upon their 9-game winning streak, Mayfield comes into the week at 9-0. After their 35-0 win against the North Rangers, they are confident in their ability to finish strong. The Wildcats offense is the 17th-ranked offense in Division 2, scoring an average of 35.1 points per game over the course of the season. In their last 2 games, however, they've cooled off, averaging 27.5 points per game. On defense, they've been just as strong. Allowing just 11.6 points per game over the course of the season, their defense ranks 10th in their division. Over the last 6 weeks, they've been even more proficient, giving up just 8.33 points per game.
Kenston is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 2-game winning streak, including last week's 28-0 win against the Riverside Beavers. That brings their record to 8-1 as they look to add another notch to the win column. In recent weeks, the Bombers haven't been quite as explosive on offense but they remain the 16th-ranked offense in Division 3, scoring an average of 35.4 points per game. While recent games have affected averages negatively, their defense is one of the best as well. They rank 6th in their division, giving up an average of 9 points per game.
Prediction: Mayfield to win (94.65% chance of victory)