Kicking off the season against a presumably superior opponent, the Alliance Aviators will look to silence doubters and prove themselves capable of overcoming odds stacked relatively heavily against them. The Hubbard Eagles, projected to win by a score of 40-14, will still need to bring their A-game on Friday as a new season breeds new possibilities for better or for worse. The better team on paper, the Eagles come into the game ranked 26th in the state and 2nd in Division 4. The Aviators come in ranked 282nd in the state and 63rd in Division 2. The Eagles expect a road victory on Friday and have a solid chance of getting one. Having matched up in 2018, there is a degree of familiarity between the two. Last year, the Eagles got the better of the Aviators, winning by a score of 63-13.
Coming into the season, Hubbard expects a deep playoff run, projected to finish 1st in the region and earn another playoff bid, where they'll look to expand upon last season's run, which ended in the Regional Finals with a loss to the Girard Indians by a score of 43-18. Projected to finish out the season at 10-0, they can expect to get another shot at chasing a state title in 2019. They were proficient on both sides of the ball last season, scoring 41.7 points per game on offense and giving up 13.6 points per game on defense, which ranked 5th and 6th in their division respectively.
For Alliance, while it is early in the season, playoffs would be a bit of a stretch. Projected to finish the regular season with a 5-5 record, they come into the season predicted to finish 14th in the region. In 2019, the Aviators will look to improve offensively and defensively. Last season, their offense ranked 53rd in Division 2 scoring an average of 23.6 points per game while their defense, allowing 20.4 points per game, ranked 20.4
Prediction: Hubbard to win (97.54% chance of victory)