The regional finals offer some of the best matchups as teams in close proximity look to claim superiority over their area in the division. On Sunday, the Ironton Fighting Tigers come in projected to beat the Ridgewood Generals by a score of 32-25. 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 Generals, one of the top teams in Division 5, come into the game ranked 3rd. The Fighting Tigers come in ranked 9th. The teams did not appear on each other's schedules last season, which presents a degree of unpredictability. 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 12-game winning streak, Ridgewood comes into the week at 12-0. After their 42-17 win against the Wheelersburg Pirates, they are confident in their ability to finish strong. The Generals boasts one of the most high-powered offenses in the state and has been even stronger in their most recent contests. Scoring an average of 48.6 points per game, their offense ranks 4th in the state. Over their last 4 games, they've been even more impressive, scoring an average of 51 points per game. On defense, their last few weeks haven't even done justice to how good they've been all season. They've given up 19.67 points per game over their last 3, down from their average of 12.2, which ranks 7th in their division on the season.
Ironton will look to continue the momentum of their 8-game winning streak, the most recent addition to which was a 31-7 win against the Amanda-Clearcreek Aces last week, bringing their record to 11-1. Scoring an average of 39.1 points per game on offense, the Fighting Tigers rank 12th in Division 5. They've been even more dominant in recent weeks, scoring an average of 47.43 over their last 7 games. Nevertheless, the defense could actually be the true strength of the team, which they've shown in their most recent contests. Over the last 4 games, they've allowed only 5 points per game. However, success on defense isn't just a recent trend - on the season, their defense ranks 2nd in their division, allowing 5.8 points per game.
Prediction: Ironton to win (52.34% chance of victory)