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David and Jim's prep football picks

By Star Tribune, 11/09/11, 10:22PM CST

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Staff writers David La Vaque and Jim Paulsen disagree on just about everything. After losing eight of 10 last week, David is no longer invited to accompany Jim to Las Vegas. Unless it's to watch the shows. Tally so far: Jim 32, David 11.

CLASS 5A

EDEN PRAIRIE (9-1) VS. ANOKA (9-1)
Friday, at Osseo, 7 p.m.
 
David says: Anoka 16, Eden Prairie 10
 
Both teams line up and run right at you. Eden Prairie is bigger and more well-known, but the Tornadoes are better this time. Three running backs with contrasting styles will be too much.
 
Jim says: Eden Prairie 24, Anoka 14
 
If any team can shut down Anoka's ground game, it's Eden Prairie. The Eagles are more than sound on defense. DT Tyson Reinke and LB Drake Michaelson put fear into opposing running backs.
 
TOTINO-GRACE (10-1) VS. PRIOR LAKE (8-3)
Friday, at Metrodome, 8 p.m.
 
David says: Totino-Grace 21, Prior Lake 7
 
Not one of the Eagles' most talent-laced teams, but it's well-coached and disciplined on defense. Prior Lake is making its state tourney debut, but Totino-Grace knows the drill well.
 
Jim says: Prior Lake 23, Totino-Grace 14
 
It's been a fantastic run for Totino-Grace, but Prior Lake's balance on both sides of the ball will be too much to overcome. The Lakers trump the Eagles with a pair of Jacks: tough-guy running backs Jack Kaiser and Jack Johnson.
 
WAYZATA (10-0) VS. MOORHEAD (6-5)
Saturday, at St. Cloud State, 8 p.m.
 
David says: Wayzata 34, Moorhead 6
 
You can bet coach Brad Anderson gave his players a history lesson this week. In 2007, Brainerd upset a 10-1 Trojans team at St. Cloud State. A focused Wayzata team is awfully tough.
 
Jim says: Moorhead 16, Wayzata 14
 
Crazy? Maybe, but hear me out: Moorhead, full of confidence, has come a long way from its 0-3 start. Wayzata is likely looking past the Spuds toward bigger foes. Upset in the making. Right?
 
LAKEVILLE NORTH (10-0) VS. CRETIN-DERHAM HALL (10-0) 
Friday, at Metrodome, 5 p.m.
 
David says: Lakeville North 17, Cretin-Derham Hall 14
 
Locked and loaded with proven players and budding stars, the Panthers have the game-changers and the grit to win their biggest game of the season. QB Trey Heid will punt, pass and kick (and run) his team to the semifinals.
 
Jim says: Cretin-Derham Hall 30, Lakeville North 17
 
Hard to figure why Cretin-Derham has flown so far under the radar this fall. Consider this the Raiders' coming-out party. Their defense is the best Lakeville North has encountered and will give Heid and company fits.

 

CLASS 4A

SPRING LAKE PARK (9-1) VS. BEMIDJI (10-0)

Friday, at St. Cloud State, 8 p.m.
 
David says: Spring Lake Park 21, Bemidji 7
 
After five section playoff losses to Totino-Grace, Spring Lake Park plans to take its state tournament run to St. Cloud State and back to the Metrodome. The Panthers' tough defense won't leave many points in its wake.
 
Jim says: Bemidji 27, Spring Lake Park 21
 
All 10 of Bemidji's wins have been by at least two touchdowns. This is the Lumberjacks' third state tournament appearance in a row. After quarterfinal losses in each of the two previous seasons, they're hungry as well as good.
 
MANKATO WEST (10-0) VS. SOUTH ST. PAUL (10-1)
Friday, at Chanhassen, 7 p.m.
 
David says: South St. Paul 35, Mankato West 31
 
When does South St. Paul get respect? Only hot dogs get more questions about what they're made of. The Packers beat No. 2 St. Thomas Academy on the road. They have the running game and defense to edge No. 1 Mankato West.
 
Jim says: Mankato West 40, South St. Paul 22
 
Regardless of size, Mankato West might be the best team in the state. The Scarlets' speed and talent has made opponents little more than roadkill. South St. Paul will hang close for awhile, but in the end West is just too good.
 
ROCORI (9-1) VS. ROGERS (9-1) 
Thursday, at St. Cloud State, 7 p.m.
 
David says: Rocori 24, Rogers 21
 
Ranked No. 10 in Class 4A, Rocori played its best game of the season in the section final. A few highlights: three interceptions and less than 100 yards rushing allowed. The Spartans are peaking at the right time in all three of the game's phases.
 
Jim says: Rogers 31, Rocori 20
 
Few teams look the part of a football powerhouse better than the Royals, who feature a seemingly endless stream of athletes straight out of Central Casting. They can play a little, too. On tap: A second trip in a row to the Dome.
 
FARIBAULT (7-3) VS. HILL-MURRAY (8-2)
Friday, at East Ridge, 7 p.m.
 
David says: Hill-Murray 28, Faribault 24
 
The Pioneers won their section final against Mahtomedi with adjustments and strong plays after halftime. Resiliency and good coaching are key to playoff success, and they have both.
 
Jim says: Faribault 27, Hill-Murray 20
 
Faribault's losses have been to two Class 5A teams and Mankato West. No shame there. The Falcons' recipe for success is tried-and-true: a hard-nosed running game and a stout defense.

CLASS 3A

ANNANDALE (6-5) VS. GREENWAY/NASHWAUK-KEEWATIN (9-2)

Friday, at Chisago Lakes, 7 p.m.
 
David says: Greenway/N-K 14, Annandale 13
 
After a 1-2 start, the Titans have kept winning -- often through four quarters of physical, hard-fought football. It's a proven formula that will produce a return to the metro area next week.
 
Jim says: Annandale 21, Greenway/N-K 16
 
The lone Wright County Conference team still alive is ... Annandale? The Cardinals are better than their record implies; all five losses have been by a touchdown or less.
 
HOLY FAMILY (10-1) VS. FAIRMONT (10-1)
Friday, at Chaska, 7 p.m.
 
David says: Holy Family 28, Fairmont 20
 
No. 6 Holy Family showed the depth of its program by racing back to championship contention after losing studs to graduation. QB/CB/K/P Michael Roane can win games by himself.
 
Jim says: Fairmont 33, Holy Family 23
 
Tim Halligan, radio voice of Glencoe-Silver Lake football, told me Fairmont was Class 3A's team to beat. The Cardinals ended GSL's nine-year state tournament run last week. Nice call, Tim.
 
PROVIDENCE ACADEMY (9-2) VS. PERHAM (8-3)
Saturday, at St. Cloud St., 5 p.m.
 
David says: Perham 20, Providence 14
 
A section final win over Pequot Lakes, avenging a regular-season loss, showed the Yellowjackets' improvement. They aim to turn heads with a strong tournament run. Perham can pound the rock and defend.
 
Jim says: Providence 34, Perham 22
 
Perham's defense is sound, but it hasn't had to deal with Marshall Klitzke, Providence's remarkable halfback who sees holes before they open. Playing on turf at Huskies Stadium only means he'll be that much quicker.
 
ST. CROIX LUTHERAN (11-0) VS. PLAINVIEW-ELGIN-MILLVILLE (11-0)
Saturday, at Lakeville North, 7 p.m.
 
David says: P-E-M 28, St. Croix Lutheran 27
 
St. Croix Lutheran earned its reputation for high-octane offense but the Crusaders will get their game thrown (and run) back at them. Load up to stop PEM's rushing attack and the Bulldogs will make it happen through the air.
 
Jim says: St. Croix Lutheran 43, P-E-M 36
 
This could end with a basketball score. No. 1-ranked St. Croix averages 48.2 points per game, PEM averages almost 41. But St. Croix Lutheran has RB Wesley Tucker, a speed-power combo who adds an edge to the Crusaders offense.

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