The Division 5 state championship matchup between the Kirtland Hornets and the Ironton Fighting Tigers looks to be at least moderately competitive. While the Hornets come into the game projected to win by a score of 30-20, the Fighting Tigers have shown time and time again that they can overcome expectations and come out on top. 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 Hornets, one of the top teams in Division 5, come into the game ranked 1st. The Fighting Tigers come in ranked 8th. A new matchup on the schedule for each team, Sunday's game is a chance for each to test its skills and strategies against an unfamiliar opponent. 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.
Kirtland comes into the game on a 14-game winning streak. After last week's 28-14 win against the Oak Harbor Rockets, they are 14-0 and look to continue the positive momentum. The Hornets has one of the best offenses in the entire state, ranking 25th with 41.1. However, they have come back towards earth lately, averaging 30 points per game over the last 2 weeks. On defense, even after the last 4 have affected their average negatively, they're also one of the best in the state, ranking 2nd with 6.1 points allowed on average.
Ironton will look to continue the momentum of their 10-game winning streak, the most recent addition to which was a 49-21 win against the West Jefferson Roughriders last week, bringing their record to 13-1. The Fighting Tigers rank 12th in Division 5 on offense, scoring an average of 38.7. However, over the last 3 weeks, their average is down to 34.67 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 7.4 points per game, which ranks 2nd in their division.
Prediction: Kirtland to win (98.97% chance of victory)