This week's matchup between the Waterford Wildcats and the Shenandoah Zeps should be one of the more competitive of the first round, the Wildcats entering the week projected to win by a score of 29-23. The playoffs are the best time of the year but also come with a great deal of drama as many powerhouses will even see their seasons cut short. Each week, it's do or die and, after this week is complete, half of the current playoff teams will be eliminated. The Zeps, one of the top teams in Division 7, come into the game ranked 34th. The Wildcats come in ranked 19th. A new matchup on the schedule for each team, Sunday's game is a chance for each to test its skills and strategies against an unfamiliar opponent. 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.
After their 14-6 win against the Caldwell Redskins last week, Shenandoah is 8-2 and looks to finish the season strong. The Zeps offense hasn't been particularly great this season in terms of point production, a trend which continues into recent weeks. Over their last 2 games, they've scored an average of 7 points - this season they've averaged 24.9, which ranks 49th in Division 7. While the defense hasn't been much better, they have improved lately - while they average 17.4 points allowed per game, which ranks 23rd in their division, they've taken that average down to 11.8 points over the last 5 weeks.
Waterford will look to continue the momentum of their 4-game winning streak, the most recent addition to which was a 26-16 win against the Belpre Golden Eagles last week, bringing their record to 8-2. Particularly in recent weeks, the Wildcats offense has struggled to put points on the board. In their last 2 games, they've put up an average of 13.5 points per game. Throughout the course of the season, they've averaged 24.7, which ranks 50th in Division 7. While the defense hasn't been much better, they have improved lately - while they average 17 points allowed per game, which ranks 21st in their division, they've taken that average down to 8 points over the last 2 weeks.
Prediction: Waterford to win (98.32% chance of victory)