Jim Paulsen and David La Vaque pick Saturday’s state quarterfinal games involving metro teams.
OWATONNA (9-1) Vs. MAHTOMEDI (9-1)
At Lakeville North, 6 p.m.
Jim says: Owatonna’s wide-open spread vs. Mahtomedi’s run-heavy attack. I’m not sure Mahtomedi can score with Owatonna, which boasts the highest-scoring offense in Class 5A.
Pick: Owatonna 40, Mahtomedi 28
David says: Both teams pitched a section final shutout so it’s about more than the offenses. That said, Owatonna’s propensity for piling up points gives the Huskies an edge.
Pick: Owatonna 31, Mahtomedi 20
ST. LOUIS PARK (7-3) Vs. BRAINERD (8-2)
At St. Cloud State, 6 p.m.
Jim says: St. Louis Park is a terrific story, but it’s tough to pick against Brainerd. The Warriors have won six straight, including a fourth-quarter comeback to defeat Alexandria in the Section 8 finals. RB Charlie Geraets is a load.
Pick: Brainerd 28, St. Louis Park 14
David says: Electric fourth-quarter performances propelled St. Louis Park through its five-game winning streak. But Brainerd is more formidable at the line of scrimmage than many of the Orioles’ previous conquests.
Pick: Brainerd 30, St. Louis Park 24
MANKATO WEST (10-1) Vs. APPLE VALLEY (9-1)
At Shakopee West Junior High, 6 p.m.
Jim says: Mankato West has big-game experience and a lunchpail approach that works well this time of year. But Apple Valley has been on a roll since losing to Chaska. The roll continues.
Pick: Apple Valley 31, Mankato West 21
David says: Apple Valley QB Tyler Cardella did damage with his legs last week, but he can throw the ball as well. His dual-threat abilities make the Eagles offense tough to stop.
Pick: Apple Valley 28, Mankato 24
ROCHESTER LOURDES (9-2) Vs. ST. CROIX LUTHERAN (10-0)
At Prior Lake, noon
Jim says: A rematch of the 2016 3A championship game. St. Croix looks to be on a mission, walloping every opponent by an average victory margin of 30.6 points. Crusaders get their revenge.
Pick: St. Croix Lutheran 30, Rochester Lourdes 18
David says: Running back Mike Stern and receiver Garett Maag give the Crusaders a pair of game-breakers. When they are clicking — which is often — St. Croix Lutheran rolls.
Pick: St. Croix Lutheran 42, Rochester Lourdes 20
JORDAN (8-3) Vs. FAIRMONT (9-1)
At Prior Lake, 3 p.m.
Jim says: Fairmont outscored Jordan 41-26 in the second game of the season. Jordan’s offense, behind QB Jonathan Draheim, can put up points in a hurry, but can the Hubmen stop Fairmont?
Pick: Fairmont 38, Jordan 26
David says: Fairmont QB Nathan Kallenbach has thrown for 1,970 yards and 21 touchdowns and run for another eight scores. Among the state’s top offensive weapons, oh, he also plays cornerback and handles kicks and punts.
Pick: Fairmont 27, Jordan 21