CLASS 6A Friday 7 p.m.
East Ridge Raptors (11-1) vs. Osseo Orioles (9-3)
Jim says: I have written off both of these teams multiple times this postseason, yet here they are, facing off in one of the more unlikely large-school finals in recent memory. East Ridge is anything but fancy, a straightforward team that runs right at its opponents. No fancy passing game, no sleight-of-hand, just throwing down a challenge to be stopped. So far, no one has. Running back Dominik London eclipsed 2,000 yards, and quarterback Otumos Payemanu added 1,076. They combined for 36 touchdowns. Osseo is the Prep Bowl’s most resilient team. It bounced back from a three-game regular-season losing streak and a two-touchdown, fourth-quarter deficit in the semifinals. Osseo seems like the more complete team right now, able to slug with the brutes and finesse them when needed.
The pick: Osseo 30, East Ridge 28
David says: Osseo safety/receiver Damario Armstrong gets the love — “best free safety I’ve ever seen,” East Ridge coach Dan Fritze said — and running back Prince Kruah gets the rock (143 carries for 900 yards and 10 touchdowns in four playoff games). For an unsung hero, try senior cornerback Quincy Williams. He made 16 solo tackles against Totino-Grace in the semifinals, often in run support. Williams measures 5-10, 160 pounds, but his spirit defines Osseo. “We’ve got a lot of small guys, but we’ve got heart,” Armstrong said. “We come out and play aggressive.” Forget Osseo’s losing streak. Forget East Ridge’s offseason disruptions. Enjoy a great game. Let’s play ball. Let’s welcome a new champion. And let’s crown the Orioles, who will go to the well once more and drink the cool water.
The pick: Osseo 24, East Ridge 21