Staff writers David La Vaque and Jim Paulsen disagree on just about everything. With three more victories last week, Jim is showing an insight that David has been unable to match. Can David rally? Tally so far: Jim 15, David 6.
David says: Champlin Park 17, Osseo 14
A tough schedule and a flurry of bum shoulders left the Rebels 1-2 to start. That was then. Healthier and hitting stride, the Rebels will contain Osseo's potent offense, win their fourth consecutive game and reclaim their place among the top 10. RB Michael Sales and QB Trevor Garrison give defenses two running threats to contain instead of one.
Jim says: Osseo 33, Champlin Park 21
Osseo's prolific offense was shocked back to reality last week, scoring just 13 points in a victory over Maple Grove, more than 30 below its average. With a week to make adjustments, the thought here is that the offense will relocate its groove. Don't overlook Osseo's defense, which has given up just 31 points in its past five games.
David says: Elk River 21, Rogers 20
Elk River is leaving the Mississippi 8 Conference after this season, so what better way to go out than with at least a share of the title? The Elks suffered their first loss two weeks ago and responded with a solid victory against Buffalo. They will keep the momentum against Rogers, a rising Class 4A power and intradistrict rival.
Jim says: Rogers 40, Elk River 26
The resurgence of Elk River is undoubtedly one of the best stories of the season. But this will be a reality check for the one-dimensional Elks, who have had four games decided by a touchdown or less. Rogers is on another level, a three-tool team -- physical, fast and aggressive -- that doesn't beat itself and knows how to take advantage of mistakes.
David says: St. Croix Lutheran 38, St. Anthony 35
This game, which has bearing on the Tri-Metro Conference East division standings and seeding for the Class 3A, Section 4 tournament, should provide its share of offense. The Huskies average 27 points per game. St. Croix Lutheran (No. 1, Class 3A) averages 43. It's shaping up to be a "last team that scores wins" showdown.
Jim says: St. Anthony 30, St. Croix Lutheran 23
St. Croix Lutheran's ascent to No. 1 in the AP Class 3A state poll this week should only serve to inspire St. Anthony even more. The well-coached Huskies are not fazed by St. Croix Lutheran's option, evidenced by their 35-0 drubbing of the Crusaders in 2010. It won't be nearly that decisive, but St. Anthony's defense will surely be ready.