Week 9 brings about a big game for both the Springboro Panthers and the Northmont Thunderbolts as it could ultimately decide the postseason fate of either one. The Thunderbolts can currently expect to finish the season 4th at 8-2. For the Panthers, postseason chances aren't quite as high as they are projected to finish 13th in Region 3. The Thunderbolts are the favorites on Friday, projected to win the game by a score of 30-26. Northmont looks to be the superior team on paper, coming into the game ranked 57th in the state while the Panthers rank 132nd in the state and 39th in Division 1. For the Thunderbolts, a hard-fought home victory would definitely be a momentum boost. However, the Panthers come in expecting to steal one on the road and the momentum along with it. There is a certain degree of familiarity between the two teams after they faced off last season. Last season, the Thunderbolts beat the Panthers 35-10.
Springboro is 4-4 after their 37-0 win against the Fairborn Skyhawks last week. This week, they look to build on that victory on the way to what they hope will be a strong finish to the season. The Panthers offense will look to continue to improve as they've scored an average of 28.25 points per game over their last 4 games, up from their season average of 23.4, which ranks 38th in Division 1. On defense, they're not much better statistically. They rank 9th in their division, allowing 13.1 points per game. However, they have improved as the season's gone on, giving up an average of 7 points over their last 4.
Northmont will look to continue the momentum of their 3-game winning streak, the most recent addition to which was a 35-20 win against the Centerville Elks last week, bringing their record to 7-1. In recent weeks, the Thunderbolts haven't been quite as explosive on offense but they remain the 10th-ranked offense in Division 1, scoring an average of 35.9 points per game. Their defense gives up an average of 18.4 points per game, which ranks 34th in their division - in their last 3 games, they've improved, giving up an average of 11.33 points.
Prediction: Northmont to win (68.55% chance of victory)