The postseason has arrived and the Chardon Hilltoppers enter their first round matchup against the East Dragons projected to win by a score of 35-22. 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. East comes in as Division 3's 18th-ranked team. Chardon comes in ranked 19th. The teams did not appear on each other's schedules last season, which presents a degree of unpredictability. 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.
East will look to rebound this week after their Buchtel Griffins in their last game. Scoring an average of 34.5 points per game on offense, the Dragons rank 13th in Division 3. They've been even more explosive in recent weeks, scoring an average of 40 over their last 5 games. While their defense has given up more points than usual in recent weeks, they deserve every bit as much of the credit for this season's successes as the offense. Over the course of the season, they've given up an average of 11.5 points per game, which ranks 7th in their division.
Chardon is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 6-game winning streak, including last week's 42-6 win against the North Rangers. That brings their record to 7-3 as they look to add another notch to the win column. Scoring an average of 33.3 points per game on offense, the Hilltoppers rank 17th in Division 3. They've been even more dominant in recent weeks, scoring an average of 40.75 over their last 4 games. Their defense ranks 55th in their division allowing an average of 21.9 points per game, but they have shown improvement in recent weeks - in their last 3 games, they've given up an average of 14 points.
Prediction: Chardon to win (76.22% chance of victory)