As the playoff picture begins to take shape for the Chardon Hilltoppers and the North Rangers, they come up on an important matchup against one another in week 10. The Hilltoppers are confident that how they finish the season will be enough to bring them to the playoffs - they come into the game projected to finish 5th in the Region 9 playoff standings. For the Rangers, chances aren't looking quite as good as they're projected to finish 20th in Region 5. The Hilltoppers will come in as the favorites, projected to win the game 37-13. The better team on paper, the Hilltoppers come into the game ranked 68th in the state and 13th in Division 3. The Rangers come in ranked 434th in the state and 79th in Division 2. One of the bigger road favorites of the week, the Hilltoppers will look to fulfill expectations and bring home the win. For the Rangers, this won't be taken lightly as they look to prove themselves capable of defending their home field against one of the tougher opponents on their schedule. The teams have played each other in each of the last five years so neither is likely to surprise the other. Over their last 5 matchups, the Hilltoppers have won 4, a trend they hope to continue. In the most recent season's matchup, the Hilltoppers proved superior, winning 42-6.
Chardon comes into the game on a 4-game winning streak. After last week's 10-3 win against the Madison Blue Streaks, they are 7-2 and look to continue the positive momentum. The Hilltoppers have struggled on offense, scoring only 23 points per game over their last 3 games. On the year, they rank 52nd in Division 3, scoring an average of 27.4 points per game over the course of the season. On defense, they're not much better statistically. They rank 14th in their division, allowing 12.4 points per game. However, they have improved as the season's gone on, giving up an average of 1.5 points over their last 2.
Looking to rebound from a 35-0 loss against the Mayfield Wildcats last week, North will try to establish momentum early and sustain it throughout. Particularly in recent weeks, the Rangers offense has struggled to put points on the board. In their last 6 games, they've put up an average of 12.67 points per game. Throughout the course of the season, they've averaged 15.6, which ranks 88th in Division 2. On defense, they rank 64th in the division, giving up 26.4 points per game.
Prediction: Chardon to win (99.82% chance of victory)