Prep Picks

Who even remembers whether high school sportswriter David La Vaque or colleague Jim Paulsen had the best record picking games last season? Just kidding. Jim (64-17) boasts about his nine-game winning margin at least twice a day. In this line of work, however, you're only as good as the last one you got right. Here are three games to start making new memories:

TOTINO-GRACE VS. CRETIN-DERHAM HALL at University of St. Thomas, 7:30 p.m.

Jim says: Considering the histories of these two programs and their obvious parallels, it's surprising that this will be their first meeting ever. Both teams have a history of fast starts — Cretin has won nine of its past 10 openers, Totino-Grace eight of 10. The Raiders have a chance to make a serious postseason run, but I learned long ago to pick again Totino-Grace at your peril.

Pick: Totino-Grace 21, Cretin-Derham Hall 17

David says: You remember Cretin-Derham Hall, right, that St. Paul private school that used to be a state tournament lock? Not lately. The Raiders haven't been to state since 2011. We know it, and you can bet they know it. Restoring the tradition starts with winning big games and this historic opener is step one.

Pick: Cretin-Derham Hall 28, Totino-Grace 21


Jim says: Expect Wayzata to come out rippin' and snortin', looking to set a tone under new coach Lambert Brown. But Rosemount's deliberate style and big, strong offensive line will wear down the Trojans by night's end. If the Irish stay away from mistakes, they'll walk out of Trojan Stadium with a victory.

Pick: Rosemount 24, Wayzata 14.

David says: No doubt the Trojans struggled against brute force last season and made toughness a point of emphasis during a long offseason. In terms of game plan, expect returning quarterback Keaton Heide to make more plays with his feet. And look for a rejuvenated Wayzata program to win.

Pick: Wayzata 21, Rosemount 19.


Jim says: A lot of eyes are on new Edina coach Derrin Lamker, who earned a reputation as a motivator with a knack for offensive football in his time at Osseo. The Hornets aren't overly fast, but with a hefty, experienced offensive line, led by junior tackle Quinn Carroll, they don't need to be.

Pick: Edina 28, Lakeville South 7.

David says: Tyler Krebs, new coach at Lakeville South, said the Cougars were a minus-15 in turnover ratio last year. So every day in practice, defenders whet their appetite by pouncing on loose balls. South's offense, meanwhile, strives to run the football well. That's a good combination. But Edina remains superior for now.

Pick: Edina 20, Lakeville South 14.