The St. Xavier Bombers begin the season with a game they should win. Going up against the Lakota West Firebirds, the Bombers is projected to win by a score of 32 - 12. Friday's matchup will feature two of the state's top 100 teams. The Bombers come into the game ranked 1st in the state while the Firebirds come in ranked 86th. For Lakota West, the inferior team on paper, this is a chance to ride the home crowd and prove themselves capable against a solid opponent. However, for St. Xavier, the expectation is a decisive road victory. The teams did not appear on each other's schedules last season, which presents a degree of unpredictability. 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.
Coming into the season, St. Xavier 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 Colerain Cardinals by a score of 21 - 14. Projected to finish out the season at 10-0, they can expect to get another shot at chasing a state title in 2018. They ranked top-25 in their division in both scoring offense and scoring defense. On offense, their 30.6 ranked 22nd in Division 1. Defensively, with 12.4 points allowed per game, they ranked 4th in the division.
For Lakota West, while it is early in the season, playoffs would be a bit of a stretch. Projected to finish the regular season with a 2-8 record, they come into the season predicted to finish 14th in the region. Last year wasn't a particularly strong year on either side of the ball for them - scoring an average of 13.8 points per game on offense, they ranked 53rd in their division, and gave up 27.3 points per game, ranking 53rd on defense.
Prediction: St. Xavier to win (94.42% chance of victory)