The Trotwood-Madison Rams enter the Division 3 state championship projected to win by a score of 29-21. The only problem is that another team that has been equally successful is looking to lay claim to the same prize. Despite what any numbers say, and surely despite what any spectators say, the Mansfield Senior Tygers believe they can beat the Rams and come out as the undisputed best team in their division. However, this will be a major challenge because, as in any state championship, they're going up against the best talent the division has to offer. The playoffs are the best time of the year but also come with a great deal of drama as many powerhouses will even see their seasons cut short. Each week, it's do or die and, after this week is complete, half of the current playoff teams will be eliminated. The Rams rank 4th in the division while the Tygers rank 14th. 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.
Looking to build upon their 4-game winning streak, Trotwood-Madison comes into the week at 11-3. After their 24-19 win against the Bishop Hartley Hawks, they are confident in their ability to finish strong. The Rams have struggled on offense, scoring only 22 points per game over their last 2 games. On the year, they rank 40th in Division 3, scoring an average of 28.9 points per game over the course of the season. On defense, they'll also be looking for improvement, which they have shown signs of in recent weeks. Over their last 3 games, they've allowed an average of 11 points, an improvement over their 29th-ranked season average of 17.
Mansfield Senior is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 6-game winning streak, including last week's 27-21 win against the Aurora Greenmen. That brings their record to 13-1 as they look to add another notch to the win column. In recent weeks, the Tygers haven't been quite as explosive on offense but they remain the 23rd-ranked offense in Division 3, scoring an average of 32.3 points per game. While recent games have affected averages negatively, their defense is one of the best as well. They rank 7th in their division, giving up an average of 10.8 points per game.
Prediction: Trotwood-Madison to win (65.58% chance of victory)