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A sobering thought: Less than two calendar weeks remain in the prep football regular season. There are only three losses among the six teams in this week’s picks, and all three games will have significant impact on conference races. This is gettin’ good.
Records so far: Jim Paulsen 14-7, David La Vaque 11-10.
Eden Prairie (4-0) at Minnetonka (5-1), 7 p.m. Friday
Jim says: Minnetonka has come closer than most to beating Eden Prairie recently with a pair of three-point losses in the past two seasons. The Skippers feel confident, but that might not be enough as this looks to be one of the strongest teams Eden Prairie coach Mike Grant has had.
Pick: Eden Prairie 21, Minnetonka 14
David says: Minnetonka will demand a full day’s work from Eden Prairie, but the Eagles can go bell to bell better than anyone. The Skippers are a quality program, but they are 1-11 against Eden Prairie in Dave Nelson’s tenure and it is tough going against history.
Pick: Eden Prairie 42, Minnetonka 21
Mahtomedi (4-1) at Tartan (4-1), 7 p.m. Friday
Jim says: Zephyrs junior Kellen Campbell stepped in when QB Colin Baumgard was injured against South St. Paul. He looked more comfortable in a victory over St. Thomas Academy last week. Mahtomedi is physical, too.
Pick: Mahtomedi 36, Tartan 28
David says: Tartan running back Keenen Bellaphant, averaging 164 yards per game, has spurred the Titans to an already memorable comeback season. The feeling here is they are not finished.
Pick: Tartan 21, Mahtomedi 20
Delano (5-0) at Hutchinson (5-0), 7 p.m. Friday
Jim says: Delano coach Merrill Pavlovich may have been sandbagging a bit at the start of the season when he said he expected a rebuilding year. The 2013 Tigers are a fundamentally sound bunch who battle to the final gun. They can win this game.
Pick: Delano 30, Hutchinson 28
David says: Don’t be alarmed. The sound of rolling thunder on the fringe of the west metro is just Hutchinson’s offense. If you can run the ball, you can win, and the Tigers run exceptionally well. A victory Friday all but clinches the Wright County East conference title.
Pick: Hutchinson 28, Delano 21