This week's matchup between the Indian Valley Braves and the Bloom-Carroll Bulldogs should be one of the more competitive of the first round, the Braves entering the week projected to win by a score of 31-27. 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 2019 season with a loss. Bloom-Carroll comes in as Division 4's 10th-ranked team. Indian Valley comes in ranked 6th. A new matchup on the schedule for each team, Sunday'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.
Bloom-Carroll is currently on a 4-game winning streak, which they hope to continue on Sunday. Coming off of a 25-9 win against the Teays Valley Vikings, they are 8-2 and their confidence continues to build as they finish up the year. The Bulldogs offense will look to continue to improve as they've scored an average of 38.33 points per game over their last 3 games, up from their season average of 32, which ranks 26th in Division 4. The defense hasn't been much better statistically, giving up an average of 13.9 points per game, which ranks 11th in their division.
For Indian Valley, Sunday is a chance to expand on a 4-game winning streak after their 60-8 win against the Claymont Mustangs brought their record to 9-1. Scoring an average of 36.8 points per game on offense, the Braves rank 9th in Division 4. They've been even more dominant in recent weeks, scoring an average of 54.5 over their last 2 games. 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 9.5 points per game. However, success on defense isn't just a recent trend - on the season, their defense ranks 11th in their division, allowing 13.9 points per game.
Prediction: Indian Valley to win (92.00% chance of victory)