The first round matchup between the West Liberty-Salem Tigers and the Madeira Mustangs should be one of the more exciting matchups of the week. The Tigers come into the week projected to win by a score of 32-24. 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. Madeira comes in as Division 5's 27th-ranked team. West Liberty-Salem comes in ranked 18th. A new game on the schedule for both teams, it should shape out as an unpredictable affair. Usually, matchups from the previous year are used in developing a strategy for upcoming games. For these two, no such opportunity will be afforded.
Madeira is currently on a 4-game winning streak, which they hope to continue on Sunday. Coming off of a 21-20 win against the Mariemont Warriors, they are 8-2 and their confidence continues to build as they finish up the year. The Mustangs offense hasn't been particularly great this season in terms of point production, a trend which continues into recent weeks. Over their last 6 games, they've scored an average of 24.33 points - this season they've averaged 30.2, which ranks 33rd in Division 5. The defense hasn't been much better statistically, giving up an average of 15.1 points per game, which ranks 13th in their division.
West Liberty-Salem is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 3-game winning streak, including last week's 35-15 win against the Mechanicsburg Indians. That brings their record to 9-1 as they look to add another notch to the win column. On offense, the Tigers have been one of the best in the state this season, ranking 21st with 44.5 points per game. Recent weeks haven't been quite as explosive as they've averaged 34.5 points per game but they remain one of the most explosive offenses statewide. On defense, their last few weeks haven't even done justice to how good they've been all season. They've given up 20 points per game over their last 4, down from their average of 10.8, which ranks 3rd in their division on the season.
Prediction: West Liberty-Salem to win (92.77% chance of victory)