The regional finals offer some of the best matchups as teams in close proximity look to claim superiority over their area in the division. On Saturday, the Dublin Coffman Shamrocks come in projected to beat the Olentangy Liberty Patriots 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 Shamrocks, one of the top teams in Division 1, come into the game ranked 7th. The Patriots come in ranked 11th. A new matchup on the schedule for each team, Saturday's game is a chance for each to test its skills and strategies against an unfamiliar opponent. 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.
Looking to build upon their 4-game winning streak, Dublin Coffman comes into the week at 11-1. After their 43-20 win against the Whitmer Panthers, they are confident in their ability to finish strong. The Shamrocks offense has been one of the best in the division, especially in recent weeks. For the year, they rank 14th in Division 1 with 31.1 points per game. Over the last 2 weeks, they've scored an average of 31.1. Nevertheless, the defense could actually be the true strength of the team, which they've shown in their most recent contests. Over the last 4 games, they've allowed only 9 points per game. However, success on defense isn't just a recent trend - on the season, their defense ranks 15th in their division, allowing 15.8 points per game.
Olentangy Liberty is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 3-game winning streak, including last week's 10-0 win against the Reynoldsburg Raiders. That brings their record to 8-4 as they look to add another notch to the win column. The Patriots offense hasn't been particularly great this season in terms of point production, a trend which continues into recent weeks. Over their last 2 games, they've scored an average of 12 points - this season they've averaged 19.3, which ranks 47th in Division 1. Their defense hasn't been much better throughout the course of the season, ranking 8th with an average of 12.9 points allowed per game. In recent weeks, they have improved, giving up an average of 2.33 points over their last 3 games.
Prediction: Dublin Coffman to win (69.72% chance of victory)