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Finally, it’s-win-and-you’re-in night. Friday night’s football games determine which teams advance to next week’s state tournament, which begins with quarterfinal games. Staff writers Jim Paulsen and David La Vaque found six games to predict. Check out coverage of each on the Football Hub online, mnfoothub.com, and in Saturday’s newspaper.
Minnetonka (6-3) at Maple Grove (9-0), 7 p.m.
Jim says: A tight victory over Edina in the quarterfinals ended a three-game losing streak and re-energized the Skippers’ season. They won’t be awed by Maple Grove’s gaudy record. Pick: Minnetonka 28, Maple Grove 20.
David says: Minnetonka might have won this game last year with a better rushing attack. And running the ball is the Crimson’s strength this season. Pick: Maple Grove 24, Minnetonka 21.
Cretin-Derham Hall (7-2)
at Lakeville North (7-2), 7 p.m.
Jim says: With five shutouts, Lakeville North’s defense is its foundation. And what wins championships again? Pick: Lakeville North 17, Cretin-Derham Hall 7.
David says: The Raiders are a different team with a healthy Blake Banham running the ball and Eli Wright catching it. Pick: Cretin-Derham Hall 21, Lakeville North 17.
Prior Lake (7-2) at Osseo (8-1), 7 p.m.
Jim says: Few things have impressed me more this season than Osseo’s fast-and-furious defense. The Orioles aren’t big, but they swarm and rarely miss tackles. Pick: Osseo 27, Prior Lake 22.
David says: Prior Lake’s tough running game ensures a third consecutive trip to the state tournament. That means Osseo’s drought extends to 20 years. Pick: Prior Lake 17, Osseo 10.
St. Michael-Albertville (8-1) at Rogers (9-0), 7 p.m.
Jim says: Rogers needed overtime to defeat the Knights 38-37 on Oct. 16. Behind playmakers Gunnar Bloom and Nate Weber, the Royals will win again. Pick: Rogers 42, St. Michael-Albertville 26.
David says: Rogers should win this game but, let’s face it, either way one of the top Class 5A teams this season will be out of the state tournament early. Pick: Rogers 28, St. Michael-
Mankato West (8-1) at Chaska (9-0), 7 p.m.
Jim says: This is the biggest game Chaska has played in years. Mankato West has made a habit of getting at least this far. Experience makes the difference. Pick: Mankato West 35, Chaska 25.
David says: Covering Chaska’s first two games this season made me a believer in these guys. The Hawks’ option offense is as good as it gets and lives to play another game. Pick: Chaska 30, Mankato West 27.
Benilde-St. Margaret’s (7-2)
at DeLaSalle (8-1), 7 p.m.
Jim says: The Islanders’ talent overflows at receiver, in a gritty leader in QB Billy Hart and an elite-level runner in Chris Williams. That’s simply too many weapons for the Red Knights to contain all night long. Pick: DeLaSalle 31, Benilde-St. Margaret’s 20.
David says: Expect fewer explosive scoring plays and a closer result than the 35-14 Islanders’ victory the last time these teams met. But DeLaSalle at home gets my vote. Pick: DeLaSalle 24, Benilde-
St. Margaret’s 14.