Typically, the first two rounds consist largely of vastly superior teams beating up on other teams in their region that just so happened to get in with enough playoff points. This likely will not be one of those matchups as the Hubbard Eagles head into Sunday projected to beat the Steubenville Big Red by a score of 28-24. The playoffs are an interesting time of year as 7 teams fulfill their most ambitious goal in winning a state championship while the other 217 playoff teams will end their season with a loss. This matchup is no different as the winner will continue their playoff run while the loser will end its 2018 season with a loss. Hubbard comes in as Division 4's 8th-ranked team. Steubenville comes in ranked 1st. A new game on the schedule for both teams, it should shape out as an unpredictable affair. Usually, matchups from the previous year are used in developing a strategy for upcoming games. For these two, no such opportunity will be afforded.
Hubbard is 10-1 after their 51-21 win against the Indian Creek Redskins last week. This week, they look to build on that victory on the way to what they hope will be a strong finish to the season. The Eagles have been excellent on offense all season, scoring 44.5 points per game, which ranks 17th in the state. In recent weeks, they've cooled off a little, scoring 29.67 points per game in their last 3 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 10.7 points per game, which ranks 5th in their division.
Steubenville is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 10-game winning streak, including last week's 38-13 win against the Buchtel Griffins. That brings their record to 10-1 as they look to add another notch to the win column. The Big Red offense is one of the most high-powered in their division, particularly in recent weeks. For the year, they rank 16th in Division 4 with 36.4 points per game. Over the last 3 weeks, they've scored an average of 36.4. On defense, their last few weeks haven't even done justice to how good they've been all season. They've given up 21 points per game over their last 5, down from their average of 17.9, which ranks 25th in their division on the season.
Prediction: Hubbard to win (99.76% chance of victory)