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Saturday's prep football state quarterfinal staff picks

By Star Tribune, 11/09/18, 9:25PM CST


The final batch of state tournament quarterfinal games decide who is done and who advances to play indoors at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Elk River running back Logan Enkhaus. (Aaron Lavinsky / Star Tribune photo)

The final batch of state tournament quarterfinal games decide who is done and who advances to play indoors at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Chaska (8-3) vs. Owatonna (10-0), noon at TCO Performance Center (Eagan)

David says: Superb running back Jason Williamson, a Minnesota recruit, leads defending Class 5A Prep Bowl champion Owatonna. He’s rushed for 2,318 yards and 34 touchdowns and averages 10.4 yards per carry. Owatonna 35, Chaska 21

Jim says: Give Chaska credit for emerging from Section 2, the toughest in Class 5A. But Owatonna is a team built on speed and explosive plays. I don’t see the Hawks being able to keep up. Owatonna 40, Chaska 21

Spring Lake Park (8-2) vs. Elk River (9-1), 5 P.M. at TCO Performance Center (Eagan)

David says: It’s a rematch of the 2016 Class 5A Prep Bowl, won by Elk River. Senior running back Adam Nelson and Co. are poised to win again. Elk River 42, Spring Lake Park 28

Jim says: Spring Lake Park isn’t pretty, but its split-veer offense is effective. The Panthers must play keep-away to stay with Elk River on the TCO Stadium turf. Elk River just puts too much pressure on defenses. Elk River 35, Spring Lake Park 28

Tartan (8-2) vs. St. Thomas Academy (10-0), noon at Shakopee West Junior High

David says: St. Thomas Academy and senior running back Brendan McFadden will wear down state tournament newcomer Tartan and its gutsy core group of two-way players. St. Thomas Academy 21, Tartan 14

Jim says: We agree again. I’ve said all year that St. Thomas Academy is built for a long playoff run. Kudos to Tartan for a great season, but it ends here. St. Thomas Academy 27, Tartan 7

Jordan (9-1) vs. Rochester Lourdes (11-0), noon at Hopkins

David says: Quarterback Bryce Sievers, with 2,829 passing yards and 31 touchdowns this season, sparks the offense as the Hubmen start fast and pull an upset of the No. 2 team in Class 3A. Jordan 28, Rochester Lourdes 21

Jim says: Jordan throws the ball all over the place and receivers Marlon Wiley and Ryan Samuelson are terrific. But I always lean toward ground-and-pound teams this time of year, especially outdoors. Rochester Lourdes 26, Jordan 14

Annandale (9-1) vs. Pierz (10-0), 5 P.M. at St. Cloud State

David says: Defending Class 3A Prep Bowl champion Pierz claims to have no superstars, but running back Reese Kapsner, who leads the team in rushing yards and ranks second in tackles, fits the bill. Pierz 31, Annandale 17

Jim says: How can I pick against a Pierz team that is not only the defending 3A state champion but has won 23 in a row? I’m picking Pierz until it loses. Pierz 46, Annandale 22.

Cambridge-Isanti (7-3) vs. Bemidji (9-1), 8 P.M. at St. Cloud State

David says: Bemidji’s more balanced offense gives the Lumberjacks, one of Class 5A’s top teams all season, an edge. Bemidji 28, Cambridge-Isanti 21

Jim says: It’s been a return to prominence for Cambridge-Isanti after four consecutive sub-.500 seasons. Bemidji has been clutch all season, finding ways to pull out tight victories. Bemidji 24, Cambridge-Isanti 21.

Jim Paulsen and David La Vaque

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