Anything can happen in the playoffs. This is why the Springfield Wildcats come into the state semifinals expecting a victory over the Elder Panthers, despite the fact the Panthers are projected to win the game by a score of 36-19. 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. Springfield comes in as Division 1's 11th-ranked team. Elder comes in ranked 7th. 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.
Springfield is currently on a 11-game winning streak, which they hope to continue on Saturday. Coming off of a 7-3 win against the Dublin Coffman Shamrocks, they are 12-1 and their confidence continues to build as they finish up the year. In recent weeks, the Wildcats haven't been quite as successful producing points but they remain the 14th-ranked offense in Division 1, scoring an average of 31.6 points per game. Nevertheless, the defense could actually be the true strength of the team, which they've shown in their most recent contests. Over the last 3 games, they've allowed only 5.67 points per game. However, success on defense isn't just a recent trend - on the season, their defense ranks 2nd in their division, allowing 10.2 points per game.
Elder will look to continue the momentum of their 3-game winning streak, the most recent addition to which was a 28-21 win against the Colerain Cardinals last week, bringing their record to 11-2. The Panthers rank 3rd in Division 1 on offense, scoring an average of 37.1. However, over the last 2 weeks, their average is down to 28 points per game. Their defense ranks 45th in their division giving up an average of 24.6 points per game, but they've been improving with each game - over the last 3 weeks, they've allowed an average of 20.67 points.
Prediction: Elder to win (92.34% chance of victory)