Week 10 is a chance for the Sandy Valley Cardinals to expand their already-solid playoff chances. They come into Friday projected to finish 7th in Region 17. They host the Malvern Hornets, currently projected to finish 9th in Region 25. Sandy Valley has the edge on paper, entering the game as a 28-point favorite. However, the battle for a postseason bid can only be decided on the field. The Hornets will have a chance to move up in the rankings this week - coming into the game ranked 49th in Division 7, they take on one of Division 5's best as the Cardinals come in ranked 16th in that division. Malvern comes into the game looking for a major upset while Sandy Valley looks to do what their fans are expecting from them. The teams are no strangers to one another, playing against each other in each of the last five years. Over their last 5 matchups, the Cardinals have been superior, coming out on top in 5 of them. However, the past won't matter come kickoff. In 2018's matchup, the Cardinals came away with a 41-6 victory.
Looking to build upon their 2-game winning streak, Malvern comes into the week at 5-4. After their 42-27 win against the Tuscarawas Central Catholic Saints, they are confident in their ability to finish strong. The Hornets offense will look to continue to improve as they've scored an average of 37.5 points per game over their last 2 games, up from their season average of 29.2, which ranks 30th in Division 7. Defensively, giving up 26.8 points per game, they rank 58th in the division.
For Sandy Valley, Friday is a chance to expand on a 5-game winning streak after their 28-8 win against the Buckeye Trail Warriors brought their record to 8-1. In recent weeks, the Cardinals haven't been quite as explosive on offense but they remain the 14th-ranked offense in Division 5, scoring an average of 39.2 points per game. Nevertheless, the defense could actually be the true strength of the team, which they've shown in their most recent contests. Over the last 4 games, they've allowed only 5 points per game. However, success on defense isn't just a recent trend - on the season, their defense ranks 11th in their division, allowing 12.8 points per game.
Prediction: Sandy Valley to win (99.96% chance of victory)