CLASS 4A Friday, 4 p.m.
South St. Paul Packers (11-1) vs. Becker Bulldogs (12-0)
Jim says: Last season I touted Hutchinson as being a 4A team that could hold its own in Class 6A. I’ll say the same thing about this year’s Becker team. The defending champions are both explosive and balanced on offense. They have Division I linemen in Dillon Radunz (North Dakota State) and Casey Vesledahl (South Dakota State), and a big, physical linebacker in Beau Pauly. The Bulldogs are the most complete team in the state, regardless of class. If South St. Paul hopes to win, it will have to keep Becker from scoring early and shorten the game by controlling the clock.
The pick: Becker 33, South St. Paul 16
David says: With Dan Pietruszewski (1,319 rushing yards, 24 touchdowns) manning a physical option offense, South St. Paul can limit Becker’s offensive opportunities. Beyond healthy doses of Pietruszewski, Anthony Perez (848 rushing yards) and Malik Holmes (641), the Packers mix in timely passes to Austin Brandecker (10 receptions, 296 yards) and Ryan Duffy (11-266). Their defense turned Rocori over on downs twice in the red zone last week. Count on a proud program to make the most of its first Prep Bowl trip. But a stacked Becker team repeats as state champion.
The pick: Becker 28, South St. Paul 20