Typically, the first two rounds consist largely of vastly superior teams beating up on other teams in their region that just so happened to get in with enough playoff points. This likely will not be one of those matchups as the Avon Lake Shoremen head into Saturday projected to beat the Wadsworth Grizzlies by a score of 36-29. It's do or die for each team as always in the postseason. Regardless of the outcome, each team can take comfort in the fact that they had a successful enough season to get here, but only one team will be satisfied with the result as the other's season will end on a loss. The Grizzlies, one of the top teams in Division 2, come into the game ranked 9th. The Shoremen come in ranked 8th. 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.
Wadsworth comes into the game on a 7-game winning streak. After last week's 35-7 win against the Olmsted Falls Bulldogs, they are 9-2 and look to continue the positive momentum. The Grizzlies offense has been one of the best in the division, especially in recent weeks. For the year, they rank 9th in Division 2 with 39.4 points per game. Over the last 4 weeks, they've scored an average of 39.4. Their defense gives up an average of 24.9 points per game, which ranks 50th in their division - in their last 2 games, they've improved, giving up an average of 20.5 points.
For Avon Lake, Saturday is a chance to expand on a 10-game winning streak after their 38-6 win against the Maple Heights Mustangs brought their record to 10-1. The Shoremen rank 18th in Division 2 on offense, scoring an average of 34. However, over the last 4 weeks, their average is down to 34 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 5.1 points per game, which ranks 1st in their division.
Prediction: Avon Lake to win (86.62% chance of victory)