The first round of the playoffs is where most of the more lopsided matchups happen in the postseason. Saturday's matchup between the Alliance Aviators and the Hoban Knights is one of those matchups, the Knights projected to advance to the second round with a 51-8 victory. The playoffs are an interesting time of year as 7 teams fulfill their most ambitious goal in winning a state championship while the other 217 playoff teams will end their season with a loss. This matchup is no different as the winner will continue their playoff run while the loser will end its 2019 season with a loss. Alliance comes in as Division 2's 48th-ranked team. Hoban comes in ranked 1st. A new game on the schedule for both teams, it should shape out as an unpredictable affair. 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.
Alliance is currently on a 5-game winning streak, which they hope to continue on Saturday. Coming off of a 48-35 win against the Marlington Dukes, they are 7-3 and their confidence continues to build as they finish up the year. While the Aviators offense has not been particularly great, ranked 48th in Division 2 with 25.1 points per game, they have improved in recent weeks, averaging 51.5 points over their last 2 contests. On defense, they rank 38th in the division, giving up 21.9 points per game.
Hoban will look to continue the momentum of their 7-game winning streak, the most recent addition to which was a 38-13 win against the Notre-Dame Cathedral Latin Lions last week, bringing their record to 9-1. The Knights offense is the 4th-ranked offense in Division 2, scoring an average of 42.6 points per game over the course of the season. In their last 2 games, however, they haven't been quite as explosive as they've averaged 40 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 12.3 points per game, which ranks 9th in their division.
Prediction: Hoban to win (99.99% chance of victory)