The Columbia Raiders and the Black River Pirates 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 Raiders are expected to finish 4-6, good for 12th in Region 22. The Pirates are projected to finish 9th in Region 22 at 5-5. Columbia will be the favorite, projected to come out on top by a score of 28-23. Columbia comes in expecting to come away with the road victory. However, it looks to be one of the more hotly contested matchups of the week and Black River will be looking to defend their home field and finish the game on top. A new matchup on the schedule for each team, Friday's game is a chance for each to test its skills and strategies against an unfamiliar opponent. Usually, matchups from the previous year are used in developing a strategy for upcoming games. For these two, no such opportunity will be afforded.
Columbia hopes to build off of last week's 41-23 win against the Brookside Cardinals and finish the season strong. While the Raiders offense has not been particularly great, ranked 79th in Division 6 with 19.9 points per game, they have improved in recent weeks, averaging 32.75 points over their last 4 contests. On defense, they rank 66th in the division, giving up 28.1 points per game.
Looking to rebound from a 20-19 loss against the Clearview Clippers last week, Black River will try to establish momentum early and sustain it throughout. While the Pirates 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 25.8, which ranks 50th in Division 6. Defensively, they'll look to show more signs of improvement after giving up 10 points on average in their last 2 games, improved from a On defense, they'll also be looking for improvement, which they have shown signs of in recent weeks. Over their last 2 games, they've allowed an average of 10 points, an improvement over their 60th-ranked 26.2 points allowed per game on the year.
Prediction: Columbia to win (78.47% chance of victory)