Staff writers Jim Paulsen and David La Vaque are back and cockier than ever about their prognostications for high school football this fall. Jim believes he’s got the edge because football is his sport and his partner is “a hockey guy.’’ David says bring it on; he does his best work when his opponent is overconfident.
Chanhassen at South St. Paul, 7 p.m.
Jim says: Chanhassen has plenty of arms and legs, but the Storm is faced with replacing four all-conference linemen. South St. Paul, playing at venerable Ettinger Field, is a beat-’em-up kind of team that can run over you if you’re not stout on the lines.
Pick: South St. Paul 27, Chanhassen 23
David says: Hey, South St. Paul lost 19 starters off last year’s team so lack of experience is a push. Chanhassen coach Bill Rosburg uses adjectives such as “explosive” and “fast” when describing many of his starters, and speed kills.
Pick: Chanhassen 21, South St. Paul 20
Park Center at Richfield, 7 p.m.
Jim says: Call this a year of renewal at Richfield. The Spartans are moving into the Metro West Conference and have a new head coach in Jon Wessel. With the home-field advantage, why not start the season with a victory?
Pick: Richfield 30, Park Center 21
David says: Hope also flows through Park Center, where new coach Paul Strong is infusing energy and making believers out of his players. The Pirates’ Adam Buirge, a dynamic receiver and defensive back, is likely to play some quarterback, too.
Pick: Park Center 27, Richfield 14
Chaska at Menomonie (Wis.), 7 p.m.
Jim says: Menomonie is a football factory but Chaska has plenty of players returning for new coach Bryan Dahl. The Hawks boast an enviable offensive line tandem in Bronson Dovich (6-6, 290) and Matt Kegel (6-5, 295). They will defend the North Star State well.
Pick: Chaska 16, Menomonie 13
David says: Chaska dual-threat quarterback Justin Arnold was one of my favorite players to watch last season. He keeps plays alive and makes defenses pay with his arm and legs. He’ll find his way to the end zone a few times on Friday.
Pick: Chaska 21, Menomonie 14
Other metro teams in action:
Brooklyn Center at St. James
St. Clair at Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity
Minnetonka at Hudson, Wis.
Superior, Wis., at Hopkins