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Level 2  ::  Playoffs
November 19th - November 20th
Overall Record: (6-1)
Conf. Record: (5-1)
Away Record: (2-1)
AVG PF: 27.1 pts
AVG PA: 5.7 pts
W/L Streak: W 3
Game Date: Thursday, November 19th

When an outstanding running team meets a similarly outstanding rush defense, it is rarely a game of give and take. The St. Croix Central Panthers found that out against the Northwestern run defense last Friday. No team had slowed the Panthers' ground attack all year. Even in their lone loss to Ellsworth in Week 3, SCC had controlled the line of scrimmage with 298 yards rushing before succumbing to a late Ellsworth touchdown. With that in mind, the expectations were high for the SCC Panthers to advance to the Regional final this week but Northwestern had other ideas. The Tiger defense rocked Central, allowing a measly 75 yards rushing and 11 yards passing to shutout the vaunted Panthers 14-0. The Tigers' were the ones with the dominant running game led by FB Brennan Werner's 122 yards and 2 touchdowns. The underrated runners up from the Heart of the North conference now take on the undefeated Ellsworth Panthers, winners of the Middle Border conference. Ellsworth repeated their regular season win over Somerset in the Regional semi final 44-0 last Friday. The Panthers were once again led by their dynamic running back Max Grand. Grand ran wild over the Spartans, piling up 294 yards and 5 TDs on 24 carries. Grand now has 918 yards rushing in 5 games this season, following up on his 1043 yards in 2019, Once again the key to this game this week will be the Northwestern run defense. While the Tigers only give up 44 yards rushing on average, they have not seen a back of Grand's caliber this year. And even if the Tigers can slow Grand down, they then have to deal with QB Mason Anderson and the Panthers' passing attack. Anderson has thrown for 1170 yards and 14 TDs to make Ellsworth multi-dimensional on offense. Although the numbers on offense add to a Panther win, the neutralizing stat that Ellsworth can't hide is their defense giving up an average of 180 yards rushing per game. Northwestern first downs will keep the ball away from Ellsworth but turnovers will probably make the biggest difference in this game.
The Pick  Northwestern
Overall Record: (7-0)
Conf. Record: (6-0)
Home Record: (4-0)
AVG PF: 37.6 pts
AVG PA: 8.7 pts
W/L Streak: W 7