Friday's matchup between the Lebanon Warriors and the Fairmont Firebirds takes place between two teams that most likely will not make the playoffs. The Warriors come into the week projected to finish 13th in the Region 4 playoff standings. The Firebirds are projected to finish 16th in Region 2. Lebanon comes in as a 4-point favorite as each team fights to close out the regular season strong. Lebanon comes in expecting to come away with the road victory. However, it looks to be one of the more hotly contested matchups of the week and Fairmont will be looking to defend their home field and finish the game on top. A new matchup on the schedule for each team, Friday'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.
Lebanon has dropped each of their most recent 5 games and will look to reverse the negative momentum on Friday. They are currently 3-6 and come off of a 38-35 loss against the Miamisburg Vikings. The Warriors have struggled on offense, scoring only 19 points per game over their last 2 games. On the year, they rank 32nd in Division 1, scoring an average of 26.1 points per game over the course of the season. On defense, they rank 62nd in the division, giving up 32.9 points per game.
Fairmont tallied up a 35-0 win against the Beavercreek Beavers last week, bringing their record to 3-6 - they'll look to add to the win column once again on Friday. While the Firebirds haven't been the most high-powered offense throughout the season, they have been improving week to week. In the last 3 weeks, they've averaged 23.33, up from their season average of 14.8, which ranks 63rd in Division 1. On defense, they're not much better statistically. They rank 20th in their division, allowing 17.9 points per game. However, they have improved as the season's gone on, giving up an average of 6.5 points over their last 2.
Prediction: Lebanon to win (62.14% chance of victory)