The Kirtland Hornets are looking to mount a deep playoff run, which they hope will end in a state championship, beginning with a game they're projected to win 39-13 over the Sandy Valley Cardinals. 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 Cardinals, one of the top teams in Division 5, come into the game ranked 16th. The Hornets come in ranked 1st. A new game on the schedule for both teams, it should shape out as an unpredictable affair. Strategically, this might lead to complications that could throw off the gameplan of either team.
Sandy Valley comes into the game on a 6-game winning streak. After last week's 41-0 win against the Malvern Hornets, they are 9-1 and look to continue the positive momentum. The Cardinals offense is the 15th-ranked offense in Division 5, scoring an average of 39.4 points per game over the course of the season. In their last 2 games, however, they've cooled off, averaging 34.5 points per game. Nevertheless, the defense could actually be the true strength of the team, which they've shown in their most recent contests. Over the last 2 games, they've allowed only 4 points per game. However, success on defense isn't just a recent trend - on the season, their defense ranks 8th in their division, allowing 11.5 points per game.
For Kirtland, Sunday is a chance to expand on a 10-game winning streak after their 48-13 win against the Berkshire Badgers brought their record to 10-0. The Hornets score an average of 44 points per game, which ranks 23rd in the state offensively. In recent weeks, they've scored at an even more impressive rate, an average of 52.67 points over their last 6 games. While their offense gets a lot of credit for their success, the defense has played at an elite level as well. Giving up just 3.4 points per game on average, their defense ranks 2nd in the state.
Prediction: Kirtland to win (99.98% chance of victory)