For the Lakota West Firebirds and the Oak Hills Highlanders, week 5 is a chance to edge out a victory over an evenly matched opponent. The Firebirds come into Friday as 7-point favorites, but the Highlanders will also step on the field expecting to come away with the win. Better on paper, the Firebirds come into the game ranked 75th in the state, hosting a Highlanders team that comes in ranked 106th in the state and 45th in Division 1. For the Firebirds, a hard-fought home victory would definitely be a momentum boost. However, the Highlanders come in expecting to steal one on the road and the momentum along with it. There is a certain degree of familiarity between the two teams after they faced off last season. Last year, the Firebirds got the better of the Highlanders, winning by a score of 31 - 24.
Oak Hills is looking like an early playoff bubble team after missing out on the postseason in 2018. After a 20 - 13 win against the Hamilton Big Blue, they sit at 3-1 and are projected to finish 8th in the regional playoff standings. Their defense has been one of the best in Division 1, ranking 18th with 13.5 points allowed per game. On offense, they rank 31st, scoring an average of 25.8 points per game.
Lakota West comes into the week projected to finish the season as the region's 9th-ranked team in terms of playoff points. Last week, their 37 - 3 loss against the Fairfield Indians brought them to 1-3. A home win this week could give them a better chance of avoiding the same fate as last year, when they were left on the outside looking in come postseason. The Firebirds have struggled thus far on each side of the ball. Scoring 7.5 points per game, they rank 70th in Division 1. Defensively, giving up 23.2 points per game, ranks 45th in the division.
Prediction: Lakota West to win (71.34% chance of victory)