JEFF LAWLER, SportsEngine
Early returns indicate that David La Vaque is going to run away with the picks battle this year. After another 2-1 week, David added to his lead and is now 9-3 for the season. Jim’s past success has not carried over to this year (“Must be COVID,” he said), and he is sitting at .500 (6-6).
Eden Prairie (2-0) at Lakeville South (2-0), 7 p.m.
Jim says: In years past, I would automatically pick Eden Prairie based on history. The Eagles are always ready for big games. But I believe that talent rises to the top, and simply put, Lakeville South is the more talented group. If the Cougars stay grounded, they win. Pick: Lakeville South 29, Eden Prairie 26
David says: Eden Prairie earned its reputation for strangling teams with methodical drives. Often overlooked, however, is the Eagles’ penchant for pulling a fast one on weary and unsuspecting defenses. Quarterback naked bootleg, perhaps? Maybe a deep ball? Whatever it is, Lakeville South must contain those plays and counter with a few of its own. Pick: Eden Prairie 21, Lakeville South 14
Minnetonka (2-0) at Maple Grove (2-0), 7 p.m.
Jim says: Will Minnetonka’s opportunistic defense — a pick-six and a blocked punt TD in last week’s 28-3 victory over Blaine — stand up to Maple Grove’s potent offense? Crimson RB Derrick Jameson has eight TDs in two games and QB Jacob Kilzer has a 150.0 quarterback rating. Tonka wins if it wins the turnover battle. If Maple Grove plays another efficient, mistake-free game, the Crimson wins. Pick: Maple Grove 33, Minnetonka 24
David says: Minnetonka’s two victories match last season’s output and the Skippers’ 58 points already surpass the 51 they scored in seven games in 2020. Crazy. The next step in the rebuilding process is earning a victory on the road against an equally strong foe. Senior quarterback Will Martin has thrown five touchdown passes and the defense has yet to yield a second-half point. Pick: Minnetonka 27, Maple Grove 21
St. Thomas Academy (2-0) vs. Cretin-Derham Hall (0-2), at TCO Performance Center, 7 p.m.
Jim says: The big draw for this one is the resumption of an old St. Paul rivalry. On the field, St. Thomas Academy is the better team. The Cadets have allowed just 269 totals yards and six points in two games. There’s offensive talent at Cretin, so the Raiders will move the ball, but their brutal early schedule dooms them to a third straight loss. Pick: St. Thomas Academy 24, Cretin-Derham Hall 14
David says: St. Thomas Academy running back Love Adebayo missed the first game on coach Dan O’Brien’s decision. Adebayo returned last week and carried seven times for 71 yards. He’s explosive, and he and workhorse Savion Lopez (40 carries for 218 yards in two games) solidify the Cadets’ identity as a powerful running team. Pick: St. Thomas Academy 28, Cretin-Derham Hall 7