In this year's regional finals for the Licking Valley Panthers, they are projected to come away with a 33-25 win over the Bloom-Carroll Bulldogs. However, it should be one of the more hotly contested matchups of the round and all statistical predictions could easily go out the window. The playoffs are an interesting time of year as 7 teams fulfill their most ambitious goal in winning a state championship while the other 217 playoff teams will end their season with a loss. This matchup is no different as the winner will continue their playoff run while the loser will end its 2019 season with a loss. The Bulldogs, one of the top teams in Division 4, come into the game ranked 10th. The Panthers come in ranked 4th. A new game on the schedule for both teams, it should shape out as an unpredictable affair. Usually, matchups from the previous year are used in developing a strategy for upcoming games. For these two, no such opportunity will be afforded.
Bloom-Carroll is currently on a 6-game winning streak, which they hope to continue on Sunday. Coming off of a 49-21 win against the Waverly Tigers, they are 10-2 and their confidence continues to build as they finish up the year. The Bulldogs offense has been one of the best in the division, especially in recent weeks. For the year, they rank 13th in Division 4 with 34.8 points per game. Over the last 2 weeks, they've scored an average of 34.8. On defense, their last few weeks haven't even done justice to how good they've been all season. They've given up 30 points per game over their last 2, down from their average of 16.6, which ranks 16th in their division on the season.
For Licking Valley, Sunday is a chance to expand on a 12-game winning streak after their 20-14 win against the John Glenn Little Muskies brought their record to 12-0. The Panthers rank 5th in Division 4 on offense, scoring an average of 38.6. However, over the last 2 weeks, their average is down to 24 points per game. While their defense has given up more points than usual in recent weeks, they deserve every bit as much of the credit for this season's successes as the offense. Over the course of the season, they've given up an average of 10.3 points per game, which ranks 3rd in their division.
Prediction: Licking Valley to win (97.69% chance of victory)