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Star Tribune staff picks for Saturday section playoffs

By Star Tribune, 10/25/19, 7:21PM CDT


Elk River and Rogers played a dandy in the last game of the regular season. Jim Paulsen and David La Vaque don't agree on who will take the rematch.

Ben Dahl (7) of Rogers ran for a first down in the fourth quarter. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@startribune.com – Rogers, MN – October 16, 2019, Prep / High School Football, Class 5A football, Elk River at Rogers

High school sports reporter Jim Paulsen went into Friday’s games with a big lead over colleague David La Vaque, but that was based on regular season results. And just as teams welcome the chance to go into the postseason with a clean slate, La Vaque sees playoff picks as a chance at redemption.

ELK RIVER (8-1) at ROGERS (7-1), 3 p.m.

Jim says: A little more than a week ago, Rogers pulled out a thrilling 40-36 victory over the Elks in the regular-season finale. Expect an equally competitive match-up this time around. If these teams played 10 times, each would win five. This round goes to Elk River. Elk River 44, Rogers 34

David says: Both team excel at offensive fireworks and get by on making a few defensive stops. In other words, take the over in this game. Weather-wise, Saturday afternoon looks glorious for teams that can sling it. Rogers can, and that’s why the Royals win. Rogers 49, Elk River 42

HOLY ANGELS (5-4) at BENILDE-ST. MARGARET'S (8-0), 7 p.m.

Jim says: Benilde-St. Margaret’s reflects the gritty attitude of coach Jon Hanks, with a physical, no-nonsense style that wears down opponents. A perfect approach for this time of year. Consistent, no matter the circumstances. Benilde-St. Margaret’s 30, Holy Angels 18

David says: Benilde-St. Margaret’s raced to a three-touchdown lead in a 35-14 regular-season victory against the Stars’ patchwork defense. Holy Angels has rebuilt its defense but the physical Red Knights still have the edge. Benilde-St. Margaret’s 28 Holy Angels 20


Jim says: Southwest and TK Marshall, the most explosive running back in the metro, have had a terrific season. But the swift Hawks, who are playing well and have something to prove. Cooper 39, Southwest 24

David says: Cooper brings too much to this game. Too much offense. Too much experience against top teams. Southwest and its elite running back will have trouble answering. Cooper 35, Southwest 14

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