Staff writer Jim Paulsen began the semifinals with a four-game edge over colleague David LaVaque in picking game-winners this season. Friday's games have them disagreeing at every turn.
Jim says: It's been a terrific ride for South Ridge (formerly AlBrook/Cotton), with 11 consecutive victories after a stretch of 17 losses in 18 games. Never question a hot streak. Pick: South Ridge 30, Grand Meadow 22.
David says: A fast and sure-tackling Superlarks defense is surly after a below-average quarterfinals performance by their standards. That's just the right mentality for success. Pick: Grand Meadow 28, South Ridge 21.
Jim says: Ranked No. 1 in the final Associated Press polls, the team rushed for nearly 4,000 yards and scored at a point-a-minute pace (48.5 per game) and held opponents under 180 yards per game. Pick: C-G-B 37, Goodridge/Grygla 26.
David says: The Chargers avenged their lone loss of the season to Stephen-Argyle with a section finals victory. Solid offensive line play sets up Daniel Polansky to beat teams with his arm or legs. Pick: Goodridge/Grygla 31, C-G-B 21.
Jim says: Huskies fans long awaited the arrival of this team, making its first tournament appearance since 1999. A relentless running game is complemented by QB Colton Schock, a 60.2 percent passer and owner of most team passing records. Pick: Owatonna 34, St. Thomas 27.
David says: Finally at full strength, the Cadets' stable of running backs can beat you with flash or force, moving the chains and wearing out the defense. A finals showdown with nemesis Totino-Grace awaits. Pick: St. Thomas 28, Owatonna 14.
Jim says: Three words give Holy Family the edge: Wright County Conference. The Fire lost three games in league play but are still alive and riding a seven-game winning streak. Pick: Holy Family 39, Princeton 17.
David says: A four-overtime victory brought the Tigers to the Metrodome. The feeling here is they are just getting started. Playing indoors favors their passing game. Pick: Princeton 21, Holy Family 14
Jim says: This is a different year and a different Wayzata team than the ones that have had trouble scoring touchdowns in the Metrodome against Eden Prairie. Plus, the Eagles have had trouble scoring in general in recent weeks. Pick: Wayzata 13, Eden Prairie 6.
David says: Coach Brad Anderson's Trojans are 0-for-2 when it comes to scoring a touchdown against Eden Prairie in the Metrodome. Without LB Chris Wipson, how will they contain the Eden Prairie running game? They won't. Pick: Eden Prairie 20, Wayzata 7.
Tag(s): News Star Tribune Hub Exclusive Passing Defense News South Owatonna South Ridge St. Thomas Academy Princeton Eden Prairie Wayzata Totino-Grace Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley Grand Meadow Stephen-Argyle Wright County