One of the most highly anticipated matchups of the first round comes between the Olentangy Liberty Patriots and the Gahanna Lincoln Lions, the Patriots projected to win by a score of 24-20. 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. The Lions, one of the top teams in Division 1, come into the game ranked 31st. The Patriots come in ranked 12th. Having matched up in 2017, there is a degree of familiarity between the two. In 2017, the Patriots defeated the Lions by a score of 17-14.
Last week, Gahanna Lincoln dropped a game 14-10 against the Pickerington North Panthers. They'll look to get in the win column this week as they hope to finish out the season on a positive note. While the Lions haven't been the most high-powered offense throughout the season, they have been improving week to week. In the last 2 weeks, they've averaged 36, up from their season average of 20.6, which ranks 47th in Division 1. They aren't a top defense in terms of points allowed either, but they have given up less points in recent weeks. While they rank 47th in their division on the season with 22.1 points allowed per game, they've given up an improved average of 10 points over their last 2 games.
Olentangy Liberty will be looking to put together a win streak coming off of a 42-0 win over the Westerville North Warriors last week, which brings their record to 6-4. While the Patriots 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 25.25, up from their season average of 20.8, which ranks 46th in Division 1. While the defense hasn't been much better, they have improved lately - while they average 14.8 points allowed per game, which ranks 15th in their division, they've taken that average down to 8.5 points over the last 2 weeks.
Prediction: Olentangy Liberty to win (98.16% chance of victory)