The Mentor Cardinals are looking to mount a deep playoff run, which they hope will end in a state championship, beginning with a game they're projected to win 41-21 over the Strongsville Mustangs. 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 2018 season with a loss. Strongsville comes in as Division 1's 29th-ranked team. Mentor comes 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 Cardinals won 45-20 so the Mustangs will be looking for revenge. They also played in 2017, a matchup in which the defeated the Mustangs by a score of 42-27.
Looking to build upon their 4-game winning streak, Strongsville comes into the week at 7-3. After their 48-0 win against the Brunswick Blue Devils, they are confident in their ability to finish strong. The Mustangs have boasted one of Division 1's best offenses all season, averaging 33.3 points per game, which ranks 13th. In their last 2 games, they've been even better, scoring 45 points per game. Their defense ranks 56th in their division giving up an average of 25.3 points per game, but they've been improving with each game - over the last 2 weeks, they've allowed an average of 9.5 points.
Mentor is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 2-game winning streak, including last week's 48-0 win against the Elyria Pioneers. That brings their record to 9-1 as they look to add another notch to the win column. The Cardinals rank 3rd in Division 1 on offense, scoring an average of 39.1. However, over the last 3 weeks, their average is down to 35 points per game. While their offense is solid, the defense deserves equal credit for the season's successes. Their 13.6 points allowed per game ranks 9th in the division and continues to get better week by week - in their last 2 games, they've given up just 3.5 points per game.
Prediction: Mentor to win (99.95% chance of victory)