The Buckeye Valley Barons and the Whitehall-Yearling Rams meet on Friday for what could be an important matchup - while both currently have less than a 50% chance of making the playoffs, every win counts at the end of the season. The Barons are expected to finish 1-9, good for 26th in Region 11. The Rams are projected to finish 14th in Region 8 at 6-4. Whitehall-Yearling will be the favorite, projected to come out on top by a score of 37-18. For Buckeye Valley, this is a chance to prove themselves legitimate by coming out on top against a solid opponent. For Whitehall-Yearling, this week is simply about doing what's expected of them. A new game on the schedule for both teams, it should shape out as an unpredictable affair. 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.
After their 49-25 win against the Liberty Union Lions last week, Buckeye Valley is 1-8 and looks to finish the season strong. While the Barons 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 26, up from their season average of 13.8, which ranks 94th in Division 3. They rank similarly on defense, coming in at 99th in their division, allowing 34 points per game. That number has generally gone up in recent weeks as they've given up an average of 19.5 points in their last 2 games.
Looking to rebound from a 29-27 loss against the Harvest Prep Warriors last week, Whitehall-Yearling will try to establish momentum early and sustain it throughout. While the Rams offense has not been particularly great, ranked 34th in Division 2 with 29.2 points per game, they have improved in recent weeks, averaging 35 points over their last 5 contests. Their defense, while not a top defense in Division 2, has shown signs of improvement. They currently rank 67th in the division with 27.8 points allowed per game, but have allowed an improved average of 18.6 points over their last 5 games.
Prediction: Whitehall-Yearling to win (99.93% chance of victory)