As the end of the season draws near, playoffs are the only thing on any team's mind that still stands a reasonable chance. On Friday, two of these teams meet - the CVCA Royals and the Manchester Panthers. The Royals come into the game projected to enter the playoffs as Region 13's 4th best team at 7-3. The Panthers come into the game projected to finish 7-3 as Region 17's 2nd best team. Manchester will enter the game as a 17-point favorite, projected to win the game 39-22. Manchester ranks 14th in Division 5 as opposed to CVCA, who rank 43rd in Division 4. The Panthers, the better team on paper, will look to prove their superiority on the field come Friday. One of the more familiar matchups of week 10, both teams know what to expect. Manchester will hope to continue the recent trend, in which they've won 4 of the last 5 matchups. In the most recent season's matchup, the Royals proved superior, winning 42-19.
Looking to build upon their 2-game winning streak, CVCA comes into the week at 7-2. After their 42-15 win against the Loudonville Redbirds, they are confident in their ability to finish strong. While the Royals 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 31, up from their season average of 27.7, which ranks 43rd in Division 4. On defense, they'll also be looking for improvement, which they have shown signs of in recent weeks. Over their last 5 games, they've allowed an average of 14.4 points, an improvement over their 30th-ranked season average of 17.2.
Manchester is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 3-game winning streak, including last week's 29-26 win against the Orrville Red Riders. That brings their record to 6-3 as they look to add another notch to the win column. The Panthers offense will look to continue to improve as they've scored an average of 34.33 points per game over their last 3 games, up from their season average of 29.8, which ranks 39th in Division 5. They've played at a simiar level on defense, ranking 35th in their division, giving up 20.3 points per game. Over their last 2 games, however, they have made progress, giving up an average of 13 points per game.
Prediction: Manchester to win (97.72% chance of victory)