The Rocky River Pirates come into Friday projected to finish the season 5-5 at 15th in Region 10. They host the Elyria Catholic Panthers, who are currently expected to make the playoffs at 5th in Region 18. Elyria Catholic have the edge on paper, entering the game as a 8-point favorite. However, the battle for a postseason bid can only be decided on the field. The Panthers, one of the better teams statewide, come into the game ranked 100th. On the other hand, the Pirates come in ranked 217th in the state and 45th in Division 3. Rocky River will be tested at home against a formidable Elyria Catholic team. While the road team is expected to get the victory, overcoming homefield advantage could be a major challenge for Friday's favorite. The teams are no strangers to one another, playing against each other in each of the last five years. Over their last 5 matchups, the Pirates have been superior, coming out on top in 3 of them. However, the past won't matter come kickoff. In the most recent season's matchup, the Panthers proved superior, winning 33-13.
Looking to build upon their 4-game winning streak, Elyria Catholic comes into the week at 6-3. After their 68-20 win against the Normandy Invaders, they are confident in their ability to finish strong. The Panthers have boasted one of Division 5's best offenses all season, averaging 42.4 points per game, which ranks 10th. In their last 3 games, they've been even better, scoring 54.67 points per game. Their defense ranks 48th in their division allowing an average of 22.7 points per game, but they have shown improvement in recent weeks - in their last 2 games, they've given up an average of 20 points.
Rocky River will come into the week looking to put an end to their current 2-game losing streak after a 42-15 loss against the Buckeye Bucks brought their record down to 5-4. The Pirates have struggled on offense, scoring only 16 points per game over their last 2 games. On the year, they rank 53rd in Division 3, scoring an average of 27.2 points per game over the course of the season. On defense, they rank 64th in the division, giving up 25 points per game.
Prediction: Elyria Catholic to win (77.76% chance of victory)