For the third year in a row, staff writers Jim Paulsen and David La Vaque square off in predicting metro-area football games.
Jim says: Known for his offensive acumen, coach Rick Sutton has a defense, led by defensive ends Micah Hausman and Tony Sarne, to pick up the offense when needed. Pick: Eagan 24, Prior Lake 19
David says: Reaching the state tournament, as Prior Lake did last season, renews excitement. Players work a little harder to fulfill bigger dreams. It will show in this one. Pick: Prior Lake 28, Eagan 21
Jim says: In 2011, first-year head coach Andy Hill brought an intensity that Woodbury had lacked. The 15 returning starters will bring a little of that with them. Pick: Woodbury 34, Stillwater 28
David says: Nate Ricci does a little bit of everything on the field and does it all well. Following their quarterback's lead, the Ponies will find a way to win by any means necessary. Pick: Stillwater 21, Woodbury 14
Jim says: Picked against Glencoe-Silver Lake twice in 2011 and was wrong both times. Consider it a lesson learned and time to make amends. Pick: Glencoe-Silver Lake 30, Holy Family 16.
David says: Graduation might slow the track-meet style the Fire plays so well. Expect the overlooked defense to take a bigger role. Pick: Holy Family 22, Glencoe-Silver Lake 14