This week's matchup between the Glenville Tarblooders and the Norwalk Truckers should be one of the more competitive of the first round, the Tarblooders entering the week projected to win by a score of 26-22. The playoffs are an interesting time of year as 7 teams fulfill their most ambitious goal in winning a state championship while the other 217 playoff teams will end their season with a loss. This matchup is no different as the winner will continue their playoff run while the loser will end its 2019 season with a loss. The Tarblooders rank 21st in the division while the Truckers rank 15th. The teams did not appear on each other's schedules last season, which presents a degree of unpredictability. Usually, matchups from the previous year are used in developing a strategy for upcoming games. For these two, no such opportunity will be afforded.
Looking to build upon their 7-game winning streak, Glenville comes into the week at 7-3. After their 56-0 win against the Rhodes Rams, they are confident in their ability to finish strong. While the Tarblooders haven't been the most high-powered offense throughout the season, they have been improving week to week. In the last 5 weeks, they've averaged 43.8, up from their season average of 32.8, which ranks 30th in Division 3. Their defense hasn't been much better throughout the course of the season, ranking 6th with an average of 8.7 points allowed per game. In recent weeks, they have improved, giving up an average of 0 points over their last 2 games.
Looking to rebound from a 29-14 loss against the Columbian Tornadoes last week, Norwalk will try to establish momentum early and sustain it throughout. In recent weeks, the Truckers haven't been quite as explosive on offense but they remain the 9th-ranked offense in Division 3, scoring an average of 36.6 points per game. Their defense allows an average of 17.7 points per game, which ranks 33rd in their division.
Prediction: Glenville to win (88.30% chance of victory)