An oh-fer last Friday means Jim Paulsen (13-8) lost ground in his lead over fellow Star Tribune prep sports reporter David La Vaque (12-9). But that didn’t stop Jim from picking all three road teams this week. Even David has to tip his cap for that courageous approach.
Edina (5-0) at Minnetonka (5-0), 7 p.m.
Jim says: Edina has bought into coach Derrin Lamker’s philosophy, eschewing flash for a rushing attack and a defensive approach that lends itself to postseason success. This starts a tough three-game stretch for the Hornets, who next play Maple Grove and Eden Prairie.
Pick: Edina 28, Minnetonka 20
David says: So far, Minnetonka has justified the preseason buzz about its potential as a top-flight 6A program. And defeating Edina solidifies the Skippers’ status as the next in line for the throne occupied by No. 1 Eden Prairie. They meet next week.
Pick: Minnetonka 14, Edina 10
Holy Angels (5-0) at Benilde-St. Margaret’s (5-0), 7 p.m.
Jim says: Time to give a little love to Holy Angels, a veteran club that has received little fanfare despite a perfect start that includes a rare victory at South St. Paul. Dual-threat QB Joe Heimbold, a three-year starter, operates the pistol offense with precision. I’m Stars-gazing in this one.
Pick: Holy Angels 33, Benilde-St. Margaret’s 24
David says: Spare me the no-respect angle. Benilde-St. Margaret’s, undefeated and the defending state champion, is somehow still not ranked No. 1. The Red Knights’ offense boasts explosive elements with four receivers averaging between 12 to 23 yards per catch. Gabe Alada leads with 20 receptions for seven scores.
Pick: Benilde-St. Margaret’s 28, Holy Angels 13
Elk River (5-0) at Rogers (3-2), 7 p.m.
Jim says: It’s Elk River’s burden to face constant comparisons to 2016’s once-in-forever state championship team. These Elks aren’t as dominant, but they’re still pretty darn good, having won each of their past three games by 20-plus points. Rogers is a strong rival — no blowout — but the Elks will win.
Pick: Elk River 35, Rogers 22
David says: Elk River’s offense runs the ball a ton but remains dynamic. Almost half of the team’s 26 touchdown runs covered anywhere from 23 to 80 yards, with five of them going 57 yards or more. And the defending champs are sharp. A flawless first half last week fueled a 35-0 lead.
Pick: Elk River 42, Rogers 14