In the first round of the playoffs, there are usually a few games in each division that serve as a preview to the rest of the excitement we'll see as we approach the state championships. This week's matchup between the Westerville Central Warhawks and the Olentangy Liberty Patriots looks to be one of those games as the Warhawks comes into the game as 3-point favorites in what essentially amounts to a toss-up. 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 2019 season with a loss. The Warhawks rank 22nd in the division while the Patriots rank 5th. It's a chance for the Warhawks to get revenge as, in their regular season matchup, the Patriots won by a score of 17-7. They also played last season, a matchup in which the Patriots got the better of the Warhawks, winning by a score of 16-14.
Westerville Central is 7-3 after their 41-7 win against the Olentangy Braves 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 Warhawks rank 5th in Division 1 on offense, scoring an average of 36.8. However, over the last 5 weeks, their average is down to 19 points per game. 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 8.6 points per game, which ranks 1st in their division.
After a 35-7 win against the Westerville North Warriors brought their record to 9-1, Olentangy Liberty will be looking to carry that momentum over and earn another victory. Particularly in recent weeks, the Patriots offense has struggled to put points on the board. In their last 2 games, they've put up an average of 21 points per game. Throughout the course of the season, they've averaged 24.8, which ranks 37th in Division 1. Their defense hasn't been much better throughout the course of the season, ranking 6th with an average of 11.8 points allowed per game. In recent weeks, they have improved, giving up an average of 8.5 points over their last 2 games.
Prediction: Westerville Central to win (99.16% chance of victory)