When we last left our staff prognosticators at the end of the 2017 season, Jim Paulsen (57-25) had bested colleague David La Vaque by a seven-game margin. He's so good he deserves a brand. David suggests "Jimmy the Grump." Game on.
CRETIN-DERHAM HALL at TOTINO-GRACE, 7 P.M.
Jim says: Is Cretin-Derham Hall a legit 6A contender? Can Totino-Grace rebound from a subpar season? As much as I admire the job coach Jeff Ferguson and the T-G staff does each year to reload a program without a feeder system, the Raiders have high-caliber weapons.
Cretin-Derham Hall 20, Totino-Grace 14
David says: That "feeder system" is the entire metro area. But I digress. Historically, well-coached Totino-Grace defenses have caused opposing weapons to misfire. And the Eagles return five starters to what should be another solid defensive unit.
Totino-Grace 21, Cretin-Derham Hall 17
WAYZATA at ROSEMOUNT, 7 P.M.
Jim says: With the talent amassed on the Wayzata roster, I don't see the Trojans enduring a third consecutive 2-7 season. But this is just one game, at Rosemount, on grass. The home team still is smarting from a season-opening loss to Wayzata a year ago.
Rosemount 27, Wayzata 14
David says: Both teams return their quarterbacks and each of those signal callers can throw to a Division I-caliber receiver. Rosemount's Jonathan Mann verbally committed to the Gophers while the Trojans' Billy Riviere is headed to North Dakota.
Rosemount 31, Wayzata 28
ROSEVILLE at ANOKA, 7 P.M.
Jim says: Roseville lost most of its offensive production from 2017. Anoka is coming off a winless campaign and has a pair of high-level talents in OL Joey Lombard and LB Godo Jiggo. The Tornadoes get their first win since 2016.
Anoka 30, Roseville 19
David says: The grass bowl that is Anoka's Goodrich Field makes for a perfect football setting. The Tornadoes want to give fans reasons to celebrate and they find a way to win.
Anoka 14, Roseville 13