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Prep football picks

  • Article by: DAVID LA VAQUE and JIM PAULSEN
  • October 22, 2012 - 10:24 PM

Playoffs begin with Tuesday's section quarterfinals in six of the state's seven classes. Most No. 1 and 2 seeds are idle, spotlighting lower-ranked teams hungry for success. Jim holds the edge with a 17-14 record. David, 16-15, picked three road teams.

Class 5A, Section 4: Andover (No. 6, 4-4) at St. Paul Central (No. 3, 8-0), 7 p.m.

Jim says: Andover has been through tougher battles, but that's not Central's fault. The Minutemen have taken care of business as needed. I can't, in good conscience, pick against an undefeated team at home against a .500 opponent.

Pick: St. Paul Central 32, Andover 23

David says: Give undefeated Central its due, but Andover is the more tested team, having played well in losses to Edina, Osseo and Totino-Grace. Strong defense and a balanced offense prolongs Andover's stay in Class 5A's toughest section.

Pick: Andover 21, St. Paul Central 14

Class 5A, Section 6: Buffalo (No. 6, 3-5) at St. Michael-Albertville (No. 3, 5-3), 7 p.m.

Jim says: Few things motivate better than revenge, and the Knights have plenty of motivation: a Week 5 loss to Buffalo that cost them a first-round bye. Expect the Knights, who turned the ball over three times last time, to be feisty.

Pick: St. Michael-Albertville 31, Buffalo 20

David says: Buffalo's season was a tale of two halves. I believe in the Bison team that finished 3-1, a run started with a victory against these same Knights. Buffalo's improved execution and physical play results in a sweep.

Pick: Buffalo 21, St. Michael-Albertville 19

Class 4A, Section 6: Blake (No. 6, 3-5) at St. Anthony (No. 3, 6-2), 7 p.m.

Jim says: St. Anthony coach Todd Niklaus is a master at game-planning and taking advantage of an opponent's weaknesses. QB Ryan Rush is gaining confidence as a passer and has weapons in Nick Kampa and Zach Siggelkow.

Pick: St. Anthony 34, Blake 14

David says: Blake dropped the season opener against the Huskies, but there is reason to like the Bears. Their running game averages 6.6 yards per carry. And winning two of their final regular season games inspires the players' confidence.

Pick: Blake 22, St. Anthony 20

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