As we reach the end of the season, teams that still have reasonable chances are jockeying for playoff positioning. For the home team in this matchup, the Hudson Explorers, anything but a playoff bid would be a disappointment. They come into the week projected to finish 6th in the Region 5 playoff standings. For the visiting Stow Bulldogs, it's a battle to stay in contention. They are currently expected to finish the season 4-6, which would put them around 14th in Region 1. The Explorers are the favorites on Friday, projected to win the game by a score of 28 - 18. Hudson, the 52nd-ranked team in the state, host a fellow top-100 team this week as Stow comes into the game ranked 78th. Stow hopes to mount an effort on Friday that will prove that they are, indeed, the better of the two. 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 Explorers have won 3, a trend they hope to continue. In the most recent season's matchup, the Bulldogs proved superior, winning 35 - 23.
After their 41 - 13 win against the Twinsburg Tigers last week, Stow is 2-5 and looks to finish the season strong. While the Bulldogs haven't been the most high-powered offense throughout the season, they have been improving week to week. In the last 2 weeks, they've averaged 41.5, up from their season average of 26, which ranks 34th in Division 1. On defense, they rank 60th in the division, giving up 30.7 points per game.
Hudson is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 2-game winning streak, including last week's 27 - 6 win against the Cuyahoga Falls Black Tigers. That brings their record to 3-4 as they look to add another notch to the win column. While the Explorers haven't been the most high-powered offense throughout the season, they have been improving week to week. In the last 2 weeks, they've averaged 29, up from their season average of 21.7, which ranks 68th in Division 2. Defensively, they'll look to show more signs of improvement after giving up 13.5 points on average in their last 2 games, improved from a On defense, they'll also be looking for improvement, which they have shown signs of in recent weeks. Over their last 2 games, they've allowed an average of 13.5 points, an improvement over their 34th-ranked 18.7 points allowed per game on the year.
Prediction: Hudson to win (76.83% chance of victory)