Anything can happen in the playoffs. This is why the Minford Falcons come into the first round expecting a victory over the Wheelersburg Pirates, despite the fact the Pirates are projected to win the game by a score of 33-15. 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. The Falcons, one of the top teams in Division 5, come into the game ranked 31st. The Pirates come in ranked 2nd. A rematch from earlier in the season, look for this to be one of the more emotional battles of the week. In the regular season, the Pirates won 21-20 so the Falcons will be looking for revenge. Last season, they played as well, the Pirates beating the Falcons 49-0.
After their 33-0 win against the Valley Indians last week, Minford is 7-3 and looks to finish the season strong. Particularly in recent weeks, the Falcons offense has struggled to put points on the board. In their last 3 games, they've put up an average of 23 points per game. Throughout the course of the season, they've averaged 32.3, which ranks 29th in Division 5. They rank similarly on defense, coming in at 36th in their division, allowing 19.9 points per game. That number has generally gone up in recent weeks as they've given up an average of 17.25 points in their last 4 games.
Wheelersburg will look to continue the momentum of their 5-game winning streak, the most recent addition to which was a 41-7 win against the Portsmouth West Senators last week, bringing their record to 7-3. While the Pirates haven't been the most high-powered offense throughout the season, they have been improving week to week. In the last 4 weeks, they've averaged 45, up from their season average of 30, which ranks 35th in Division 5. Defensively, they'll look to show more signs of improvement after giving up 3.5 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 3.5 points, an improvement over their 37th-ranked 20.4 points allowed per game on the year.
Prediction: Wheelersburg to win (99.88% chance of victory)