As the end of the season draws near, playoffs are the only thing on any team's mind that still stands a reasonable chance. On Friday, two of these teams meet - the Colerain Cardinals and the Fairfield Indians. The Cardinals come into the game projected to enter the playoffs as Region 4's 2nd best team at 9-1. The Indians come into the game projected to finish 9-1 as Region 4's 1st best team. Colerain will enter the game as a 10-point favorite, projected to win the game 29-19. The Indians come into the game as the 21st-ranked team in the state but will face one of the toughest matchups on their schedule as they host the 1st-ranked team in the state. The Indians will go into Friday looking to prove that, contrary to statistical analysis, they are the better team. The teams have played each other in each of the last five years so neither is likely to surprise the other. Over their last 5 matchups, the Cardinals have won 5, a trend they hope to continue. In the most recent season's matchup, the Cardinals proved superior, winning 55-27.
Looking to build upon their 7-game winning streak, Colerain comes into the week at 8-1. After their 34-3 win against the Lakota East Thunderhawks, they are confident in their ability to finish strong. The Cardinals offense has been one of the best in the division, especially in recent weeks. For the year, they rank 23rd in Division 1 with 29.1 points per game. Over the last 2 weeks, they've scored an average of 29.1. While their offense is solid, the defense deserves equal credit for the season's successes. Their 13.7 points allowed per game ranks 12th in the division and continues to get better week by week - in their last 4 games, they've given up just 10.25 points per game.
Fairfield is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 9-game winning streak, including last week's 50-0 win against the Oak Hills Highlanders. That brings their record to 9-0 as they look to add another notch to the win column. The Indians are undeniably one of Division 1's best offenses, averaging 33.4 points per game, which ranks 14th. In their last 2 games, they've been even better, scoring 40.5 points per game. On defense, they've been just as strong. Allowing just 10 points per game over the course of the season, their defense ranks 3rd in their division. Over the last 2 weeks, they've been even more proficient, giving up just 1.5 points per game.
Prediction: Colerain to win (93.09% chance of victory)