Jim Paulsen and David La Vaque pick Friday’s state quarterfinal games involving metro-area teams.
MINNETONKA (9-1) Vs. PRIOR LAKE (7-3)
7 P.M. at Osseo
Jim says: Minnetonka took Rosemount’s best shot, yet never relinquished control of the game. Prior Lake’s last loss was Sept. 22 to none other than Minnetonka, 27-8. This one will be closer.
Pick: Minnetonka 17, Prior Lake 14
David says: Prior Lake, employing the relentless, physical style that has made it a budding program, played its most complete game of the season last week and made a good Blaine offense look bad.
Pick: Prior Lake 21, Minnetonka 20
EDINA (8-2) Vs. CRETIN-DERHAM HALL (7-2)
7 p.m. AT WHITE BEAR LAKE
Jim says: The key matchup is Edina’s offensive line vs. Cretin-Derham Hall’s defensive front. If the Hornets can sustain a push and control the clock, they should be able to wear the Raiders down.
Pick: Edina 21, Cretin-Derham Hall 14
David says: I beg to differ, sir. The game within the game is how often Cretin-Derham Hall’s offensive line keeps Edina’s defensive line out of the backfield.
Pick: Edina 17, Cretin-Derham Hall 14
ANDOVER (8-2) Vs. ELK RIVER (9-1) 7 p.m. AT MOUNDS VIEW
Jim says: A rematch from Oct. 13, when the Elks beat the Huskies 69-54. Elk River survived a late St. Cloud Tech rally last week, a character-building effort that should pay off here.
Pick: Elk River 38, Andover 30
David says: It was Carsen Syke’s 125 rushing yards on 35 carries last week for Andover that caught my eye. The Huskies need another workhorse game from Syke to pull the upset.
Pick: Andover 34, Elk River 27
WINONA (10-0) Vs. FRIDLEY (8-3)
7 p.m. AT FARMINGTON
Jim says: Winona, 4A runners-up in 2016, has not been seriously challenged this season. And it played a tougher schedule than Fridley, which barely held off DeLaSalle last week.
Pick: Winona 44, Fridley 21
David says: Winona RB Robert Warren has returned from a shoulder injury and gives QB Riley Bosteter a fellow backfield mate with game-breaking skills.
Pick: Winona 42, Fridley 14
ROCORI (10-0) Vs. HOLY ANGELS (9-1)
5 p.m. AT ST. CLOUD STATE
Jim says: Rocori used a run-heavy attack to defeat Fergus Falls 30-0 in the Section 8 final to earn its fourth consecutive trip to state tournament. The Spartans are built to win at this time of year.
Pick: Rocori 27, Holy Angels 20
David says: If it’s a run game you desire, then don’t overlook Holy Angels tandem of Joseph Heimbold and Thomas Shelstad. They overpowered Orono last week for 168 yards and four TDs.
Pick: Holy Angels 28, Rocori 24
MARSHALL (10-0) Vs. SOUTH ST. PAUL (8-2)
7 p.m. AT SHAKOPEE WEST JR HIGH
Jim says: Marshall is averaging a state-best 55 points per game with a low of 34. There’s talent behind those numbers in the form of QB Trey Lance and RB Jefferson Lee V.
Pick: Marshall 40, South St. Paul 28
David says: Better offensive balance was deemed necessary after South St. Paul’s shutout loss to Winona last year. But to this point, it’s been the same old Packers with a physical, precise run game.
Pick: Marshall 28, South St. Paul 20
BECKER (7-4) Vs. CLOQUET (10-0)
8 p.m. AT ST. CLOUD STATE
Jim says: It’s difficult to pick against coach Dwight Lundeen’s Becker team at this time of year, but Cloquet has a special group of athletes, led by QB Tim Pokornowski and RB Spencer Wehr.
Pick: Cloquet 36, Becker 33
David says: Wehr scored seven TDs last week but the numbers of greater importance are the Becker players’ heights and weights. Cloquet must figure out how to execute against a bigger opponent.
Pick: Becker 30, Cloquet 24
CALEDONIA (10-0) Vs. MINNEAPOLIS NORTH (10-0)
7 p.m. AT BURNSVILLE
Jim says: The two longest active winning streaks square off, Caledonia (38 in a row) and North (23). Caledonia is solid on both sides of the ball, with QB Owen King running the show on offense.
Pick: Caledonia 33, Minneapolis North 16
David says: North returned a kick and punt for TDs last week to help overcome an early 14-0 deficit. The Polars also pass the ball well. But Caledonia’s defense sees King in practice every day.
Pick: Caledonia 31, Minneapolis North 28
Tag(s): Star Tribune Winona Becker Metro Cretin-Derham Hall Mounds View White Bear Lake South St. Paul Burnsville Farmington Rosemount Fergus Falls Cloquet Elk River Rocori St. Cloud Tech Caledonia Marshall DeLaSalle Orono Minneapolis North Fridley Andover Blaine Osseo Edina Minnetonka Prior Lake Shakopee