In the playoffs, there are usually a few games in each division each week that serve as a preview to the rest of the excitement we'll see as we approach the state championships. This week's state semifinal matchup between the Lucas Cubs and the Harvest Prep Warriors looks to be one of those games as the Warriors comes into the game as 2-point favorites in what essentially amounts to a toss-up. It's do or die for each team as always in the postseason. Regardless of the outcome, each team can take comfort in the fact that they had a successful enough season to get here, but only one team will be satisfied with the result as the other's season will end on a loss. Lucas comes in as Division 7's 9th-ranked team. Harvest Prep comes in ranked 5th. The teams did not appear on each other's schedules last season, which presents a degree of unpredictability. 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.
Lucas is currently on a 3-game winning streak, which they hope to continue on Sunday. Coming off of a 21-13 win against the Cuyahoga Heights Redskins, they are 11-2 and their confidence continues to build as they finish up the year. The Cubs offense is the 15th-ranked offense in Division 7, scoring an average of 31.7 points per game over the course of the season. In their last 4 games, however, they've cooled off, averaging 21 points per game. On defense, their last few weeks haven't even done justice to how good they've been all season. They've given up 18 points per game over their last 3, down from their average of 12.2, which ranks 4th in their division on the season.
For Harvest Prep, Sunday is a chance to expand on a 12-game winning streak after their 22-15 win against the Newark Catholic Green Wave brought their record to 12-1. In recent weeks, the Warriors haven't been quite as explosive on offense but they remain the 17th-ranked offense in Division 7, scoring an average of 31.5 points per game. On defense, their last few weeks haven't even done justice to how good they've been all season. They've given up 18 points per game over their last 2, down from their average of 12.2, which ranks 4th in their division on the season.
Prediction: Harvest Prep to win (94.34% chance of victory)