The first two rounds of the playoffs are where most of the more lopsided matchups happen in the postseason. Saturday's matchup between the Whitehall-Yearling Rams and the Massillon Tigers is one of those matchups, the Tigers projected to advance to the second round with a 48-13 victory. 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 Rams, one of the top teams in Division 2, come into the game ranked 30th. The Tigers come in ranked 4th. 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.
Whitehall-Yearling comes into the game on a 10-game winning streak. After last week's 38-31 win against the Dover Tornadoes, they are 10-1 and look to continue the positive momentum. While the Rams offense has not been particularly great, ranked 26th in Division 2 with 34.3 points per game, they have improved in recent weeks, averaging 41.67 points over their last 6 contests. On defense, they haven't been any better statistically, ranking 18th in their division, allowing 15.6 points per game.
Massillon will look to continue the momentum of their 11-game winning streak, the most recent addition to which was a 45-14 win against the Walnut Ridge Scots last week, bringing their record to 11-0. On offense, the Tigers have been one of the best in the state this season, ranking 5th with 47.7 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, their last few weeks haven't even done justice to how good they've been all season. They've given up 15.5 points per game over their last 2, down from their average of 11.5, which ranks 9th in their division on the season.
Prediction: Massillon to win (99.90% chance of victory)