It seems like Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley has an advantage in almost every category as it hosts Rushville-Industry in the first round of the IHSA Class 2A playoffs at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The Falcons, of course, go into the playoffs as the two-time defending state champions in 2A.
They have not been as dominant as they were in the prior two years. A 14-6 loss to the No. 1-ranked 2A team in Fieldcrest in week four snapped a 31-game winning streak, and GCMS has forced a running clock in only two of its victories this year, whereas all but one of its regular-season games last year.
However, the defense remains dominant, as GCMS has shut out each of their last three opponents.
The Falcons allowed an average of 5.1 points per game this year and have outscored their opponents by an average of 23.7 points per game.
Meanwhile, Rushville-Industry has scored 26.4 points per game and allowed the same number of points on defense.
The Falcons also have more playoff experience as they are entering the postseason for the seventh year in a row and have an overall playoff record of 20-16. The Rockets, meanwhile, are entering the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and have an overall playoff record of 3-6.
The Falcons also appear to be more battle-tested this year as their opponents have a combined record of 44-37 and include four playoff-bound teams, whereas Rushville-Industry's opponents are 32-49, with three of them reaching the postseason.
The only category in which Rushville-Industry has an advantage is enrollment, as its enrollment of 347 slightly edges out GCMS's enrollment of 320.
Other than that, the Falcons seem to have an edge everywhere else. So this should be an easy victory for them, right?
It should be pointed out, however, that these two teams have met before.
On Oct. 31, 1998, GCMS reached the state quarterfinals under head coach Vic Jennings, a run that included a 28-24 upset victory over Rushville in the first round.
Could Rushville-Industry return the favor? I don't see it happening.
Projected score: GCMS 28, Rushville-Industry 7