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 Lima Central Catholic Thunderbirds and the Lucas Cubs. The Thunderbirds come into the game projected to enter the playoffs as Region 23's 1st best team at 9-1. The Cubs come into the game projected to finish 8-2 as Region 25's 2nd best team. Lima Central Catholic will enter the game as a 15-point favorite, projected to win the game 39-24. The game has implications regarding the strength of divisions 7 and 6 against one another as one of each division's best will take the field on Friday. The Cubs enter the game ranked 8th in Division 7 while the Thunderbirds enter the game ranked 10th in Division 6. Lima Central Catholic, who should be able to quiet the home crowd and control the game, will have to prove they can do so on Friday. A rematch from their game last season, this matchup will be a good gauge on how each team has improved or regressed. In 2018, the Cubs defeated the Thunderbirds by a score of 21-14.
Lima Central Catholic comes into the game on a 8-game winning streak. After last week's 70-0 win against the Troy Christian Eagles, they are 8-1 and look to continue the positive momentum. The Thunderbirds boasts one of the most high-powered offenses in the state and has been even stronger in their most recent contests. Scoring an average of 48.4 points per game, their offense ranks 4th in the state. Over their last 2 games, they've been even more impressive, scoring an average of 62.5 points per game. Their defense ranks 28th in their division allowing an average of 18.3 points per game, but they have shown improvement in recent weeks - in their last 5 games, they've given up an average of 12.4 points.
For Lucas, Friday is a chance to expand on a 6-game winning streak after their 28-14 win against the LaBrae Vikings brought their record to 8-1. Scoring an average of 36.4 points per game on offense, the Cubs rank 9th in Division 7. They've been even more dominant in recent weeks, scoring an average of 41.5 over their last 2 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 10 points per game, which ranks 4th in their division.
Prediction: Lima Central Catholic to win (50.61% chance of victory)