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 St. Francis DeSales Stallions head into Saturday projected to beat the Harrison Wildcats by a score of 28-21. 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 Wildcats, one of the top teams in Division 2, come into the game ranked 15th. The Stallions come in ranked 16th. A new matchup on the schedule for each team, Saturday's game is a chance for each to test its skills and strategies against an unfamiliar opponent. Stylistically and schematically, past matchups are often used as a guiding tool. This week, however, each team will likely take time to adjust to an unfamiliar opponent, which should make for some added excitement.
Looking to build upon their 9-game winning streak, Harrison comes into the week at 10-1. After their 24-18 win against the Canal Winchester Indians, they are confident in their ability to finish strong. The Wildcats have boasted one of Division 2's best offenses all season, averaging 34.1 points per game, which ranks 17th. In their last 4 games, they've been even better, scoring 42.5 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 8.5 points per game, which ranks 4th in their division.
After a 27-13 win against the Turpin Spartans brought their record to 9-2, St. Francis DeSales will be looking to carry that momentum over and earn another victory. Particularly in recent weeks, the Stallions offense has struggled to put points on the board. In their last 2 games, they've put up an average of 20 points per game. Throughout the course of the season, they've averaged 27.8, which ranks 38th in Division 2. Their defense, while not a top defense in Division 2, has shown signs of improvement. They currently rank 31st in the division with 21.4 points allowed per game, but have allowed an improved average of 14.4 points over their last 5 games.
Prediction: St. Francis DeSales to win (76.22% chance of victory)