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 Trotwood-Madison Rams and the Bishop Hartley Hawks looks to be one of those games as the Rams comes into the game as 1-point favorites in what essentially amounts to a toss-up. 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. The Rams, one of the top teams in Division 3, come into the game ranked 4th. The Hawks come in ranked 1st. A new matchup on the schedule for each team, Saturday'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.
Trotwood-Madison comes into the game on a 3-game winning streak. After last week's 20-7 win against the Badin Rams, they are 10-3 and look to continue the positive momentum. While the Rams offense has not been particularly great, ranked 39th in Division 3 with 29.3 points per game, they have improved in recent weeks, averaging 31.33 points over their last 3 contests. They rank similarly on defense, coming in at 28th in their division, allowing 16.8 points per game. That number has generally gone up in recent weeks as they've given up an average of 7 points in their last 2 games.
Bishop Hartley is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 8-game winning streak, including last week's 27-14 win against the Jonathan Alder Pioneers. That brings their record to 12-1 as they look to add another notch to the win column. Particularly in recent weeks, the Hawks offense has struggled to put points on the board. In their last 4 games, they've put up an average of 22.25 points per game. Throughout the course of the season, they've averaged 30.8, which ranks 29th in Division 3. While the defense hasn't been much better, they have improved lately - while they average 12.7 points allowed per game, which ranks 13th in their division, they've taken that average down to 9 points over the last 6 weeks.
Prediction: Trotwood-Madison to win (95.79% chance of victory)