In the playoffs, there are usually a few games in each division each week that serve as a preview to the rest of the excitement we'll see as we approach the state championships. This week's regional final matchup between the Hoban Knights and the Massillon Tigers looks to be one of those games as the Tigers comes into the game as 1-point favorites in what essentially amounts to a toss-up. 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 Knights rank 1st in the division while the Tigers rank 3rd. There is a certain degree of familiarity between the two teams after they faced off last season. Last season, the Knights beat the Tigers 42-28.
Hoban is currently on a 9-game winning streak, which they hope to continue on Saturday. Coming off of a 21-17 win against the Mayfield Wildcats, they are 11-1 and their confidence continues to build as they finish up the year. Thus far, the Knights offense has put up an average of 43 points per game, which ranks 17th in the state. In recent weeks, they've been even more powerful, scoring an average of 45 points per game over the last 2 weeks. On defense, they've been just as strong. Allowing just 12.2 points per game over the course of the season, their defense ranks 8th in their division. Over the last 8 weeks, they've been even more proficient, giving up just 9.88 points per game.
For Massillon, Saturday is a chance to expand on a 12-game winning streak after their 35-7 win against the Perry Panthers brought their record to 12-0. On offense, the Tigers have been one of the best in the state this season, ranking 10th with 44.7 points per game. Recent weeks haven't been quite as explosive as they've averaged 34.5 points per game but they remain one of the most explosive offenses statewide. On defense, they're also one of the state's best, giving up an average of 9.9 points per game, which ranks 20th in the state. Over the last 2, they've allowed an even more impressive 3.5 points per game.
Prediction: Massillon to win (73.68% chance of victory)