Now it’s the big schools’ turn. Class 6A playoffs take the full prep football stage Friday night with 16 games in the first round toward the last Prep Bowl championship of the Metrodome era. The evening features plenty of rematches of regular-season games. Staff writers David La Vaque and Jim Paulsen take a look at three and offer their picks:
Stillwater (3-5) at Cretin-Derham Hall (6-2), 7 p.m. at the University of St. Thomas
Jim says: Stillwater defeated Cretin-Derham Hall on national television on Sept. 13. That, coupled with a shocking first-round playoff loss to Woodbury in 2012, should be more than enough incentive for a little Raiders revenge.
Pick: Cretin-Derham Hall 28, Stillwater 16.
David says: Cretin-Derham Hall rides a 5-0 winning streak while Stillwater limped to an 0-5 regular-season finish. More convincing, however, is the Raiders’ ability to win uglier, lower-scoring games. Pick: Cretin-Derham Hall 17, Stillwater 6
Minnetonka (5-3) at Edina (4-4), 7 p.m.
Jim says: There was a time, not long ago, when Minnetonka ranked among the top five teams in the metro. The Skippers have lost three consecutive games, beginning with a loss at Edina on Sept. 27. A team with the talent and coaching pedigree of Minnetonka will not lose four in a row.
Pick: Minnetonka 34, Edina 21.
David says: Few teams are better at turning regular-season struggles into postseason success than Minnetonka. The Skippers reached the state tournament last season with a .500 record and nearly upset Eden Prairie.
Pick: Minnetonka 28, Edina 24
Mounds View (6-2) at White Bear Lake (4-4), 7 p.m.
Jim says: White Bear Lake has won four of its past five behind junior QB Trey Anderson, who has completed 63 percent of his passes for 878 yards and nine TDs over that stretch. In our video PrepCast, I said Mounds View will win. I’m calling an audible and picking the Bears. Pick: White Bear Lake 36, Mounds View 22.
David says: These teams combined for 70 points two weeks ago, but the feeling here is a lower-scoring rematch. The colder temperature favors Mounds View’s run-heavy wing-T offense over the Bears’ spread passing attack.
Pick: Mounds View 20, White Bear Lake 14