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An earlier-than-normal Jewish holiday means some high school football games, including a battle between defending state champs Eden Prairie (Class 6A) and Totino-Grace (5A), will be played on Thursday. Start times for many Friday games have been moved up to 5 p.m. to avoid conflict with Yom Kippur, which begins at sundown Friday. The schedule might be different, but Jim and David are back as usual, picking winners in three intriguing metro matchups.
Eden Prairie (2-0) at Totino-Grace (2-0), Thursday, 7 p.m.
Jim says: The last time Totino-Grace lost a game was the 2011 Class 5A semifinals to … Eden Prairie. Never underestimate coach Jeff Ferguson and his staff at Totino-Grace, but beating Eden Prairie is asking too much.
Pick: Eden Prairie 34, Totino-Grace 20
David says: Agreed. Props to Totino-Grace, a school with a Class 4A-sized enrollment, for opting up to Class 6A. But Eden Prairie is every bit as well-coached, and its players even bigger and more physical.
Pick: Eden Prairie 35, Totino-Grace 14
Osseo (1-1) at Blaine (2-0), Friday, 5 p.m.
Jim says: Coach Derrin Lamker always finds a way to squeeze everything possible out of the Orioles. They came close to upsetting Minnetonka last week on the strength of QB Matt Miedtke’s arm. They’ll finish the job against Blaine.
Pick: Osseo 28, Blaine 20
David says: Nobody is perfect but Blaine enters this week 2-0, including a victory against Edina. Quarterback Alex Copa is a playmaker in the Bengals’ spread offense, rolling up 296 total yards against Armstrong last week.
Pick: Blaine 21, Osseo 20
Stillwater (2-0) vs. Cretin-Derham Hall (1-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Jim says: I’ve covered the Raiders three times in the past two years, all on their “home” field at the University of St. Thomas, and they’ve lost to lesser teams each time. If Stillwater can slow down Blake Banham, it can win. I’m calling it for the Ponies.
Pick: Stillwater 23, Cretin-Derham Hall 20
David says: Not only is this Cretin-Derham Hall’s homecoming, but the game is being nationally televised on ESPN2. America gets a good look at junior defensive end Jashon Cornell, ESPN’s No. 1-rated recruit. He won’t disappoint.
Pick: Cretin-Derham Hall 31, Stillwater 17