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Round two of the football playoffs features teams vying for a chance to play for section championships and a spot in the state tournament. Staff writers Jim Paulsen and David La Vaque dig into three games and find some disagreement.
Elk River (3-6) at Rogers (8-0), 3 p.m.
Jim says: No question Elk River will pose a tougher test than its record suggests, but Rogers has home-field advantage, the highest-scoring offense in Class 5A and a surliness that comes from losses to the Elks in each of the past two seasons. Pick: Rogers 45, Elk River 35
David says: Elk River running back Denis Bardashevskiy piled up 370 yards and five touchdowns at Rogers in this game last season. If there is a legal way to prevent the young man from getting off the team bus, Rogers better find it. Pick: Elk River 42, Rogers 38
St. Thomas Academy (7-2)
at Tartan (6-2), 7 p.m.
Jim says: St. Thomas Academy improved steadily as the season progressed and is set up well for postseason success: a shut-down defense accented by a ball-control running game. Pick: St. Thomas Academy 33, Tartan 20.
David says: Tartan’s strong run through the Classic Suburban Conference did not include a meeting with St. Thomas Academy. The Titans’ first look at the Cadets will be a revelation. Pick: St. Thomas Academy 28, Tartan 14
Chanhassen (7-2) at
Mankato West (7-1), 3 p.m.
Jim says: After a run of lopsided wins, save for a three-point loss to No. 1-ranked Owatonna, the Scarlets had to battle in close victories over Faribault and Rochester Mayo. That experience will serve them well. Pick: Mankato West 42, Chanhassen 31.
David says: Chanhassen’s seven-game winning streak was built on the ability to run the football, control the tempo and break an opponent down. Expect more of the same by the Storm. Pick: Chanhassen 24, Mankato West 21