The Austintown-Fitch Falcons come into Friday projected to finish the season 6-4 at 9th in Region 5. They host the Bishop Hartley Hawks, who are currently expected to make the playoffs at 2nd in Region 11. Bishop Hartley have the edge on paper, entering the game as a 3-point favorite. However, the battle for a postseason bid can only be decided on the field. Bishop Hartley ranks 21st in the state, compared to Austintown-Fitch, who ranks 103rd in the state and 27th in Division 2. In this evenly-matched a game, there is no way to tell who will come out on top. A new matchup on the schedule for each team, Friday's game is a chance for each to test its skills and strategies against an unfamiliar opponent. Strategically, this might lead to complications that could throw off the gameplan of either team.
Bishop Hartley is 5-1 after their 30-7 win against the St. Charles Cardinals last week. This week, they look to build on that victory on the way to what they hope will be a strong finish to the season. They're a high-powered offense, scoring an average of 34.5 points per game, ranking 20th in Division 3. Their defense gives up an average of 16.2 points per game, which ranks 27th in the division.
Austintown-Fitch will come into the week looking to put an end to their current 3-game losing streak after a 55-7 loss against the Massillon Tigers brought their record down to 3-3. Neither side of the ball has been particularly strong for the Falcons. Their offense scores an average of 27.5 points per game and their defense allows an average of 27.8 points per game, ranking 38th and 66th in Division 2 respectively.
Prediction: Bishop Hartley to win (88.32% chance of victory)