Thursday, Sept. 1
Centennial at Prior Lake, 7 p.m.
Eden Prairie, Totino-Grace, Lakeville North, etc., are worth watching any time, but how about getting a look at two teams flying under the 6A radar? Centennial, returning a phalanx of impressive skill players, is on the verge of breaking through. Prior Lake has built a program that no longer has down years, but there are question marks.
Friday, Sept. 9
Eden Prairie at Edina, 7 p.m.
Mighty Eden Prairie sitting at 0-2 to start the season? It’s possible. A week after playing tough Totino-Grace at home, the Eagles head to Edina. If the Hornets want to make good on state tournament contender buzz, quarterback Brock Boltmann and company can prove their worth here.
Friday, Sept. 16
St. Michael-Albertville at Rogers, 7 p.m.
An old-fashioned rivalry without the chippiness that mars others. St. Michael-Albertville is coming off a Class 5A championship. Rogers, less than 10 miles away, has been on the cusp for a half-decade. Fans know each other well, cheer on their teams, then slap each other on the back and go home smiling.
Friday, Sept. 23
Totino-Grace at Osseo, 7 p.m.
Finally over the Eden Prairie hump last season, Totino-Grace crashed the next week against Osseo. Redemption will be on the Eagles’ minds. The defending Class 6A state champion Orioles will be eager to show where they stand at the regular season’s halfway point.
Friday, Sept. 30
Lakeville North at Lakeville South, 7 p.m.
Most of the players from these two teams grew up playing together. This will be the 14th incarnation of the rivalry for the Big Cat Trophy, which Lakeville North has owned for the past six years. Will this be Lakeville South’s year? Get there early. This game routinely draws over 5,000 fans.
Friday, Oct. 7
Glencoe-Silver Lake at Delano, 7 p.m.
This game could lock up the East Central South subdistrict crown that these two teams shared last season. Delano won on the road last time they met, rushing for 263 yards and scoring three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Friday, Oct. 14
Burnsville at Rosemount, 7 p.m.
Burnsville, a power in the 1970s and ’80s, burst back onto the scene last year and features two of the metro’s best two-way players in Jackson Martens and Steph Olson Jr. Rosemount has been a model of consistency under coach Jeff Erdmann. A victory over the Irish would be a signature win for the Blaze.
Wednesday, Oct. 19
East Ridge at Woodbury, 7 p.m.
This game, featuring crosstown rivals, gets the nod over several intriguing matchups on a great night for high school football. The winner in this battle of Woodbury could clinch the East Metro White subdistrict title plus a top seed in the Class 6A playoffs.
DAVID LA VAQUE, JIM PAULSEN