OSSEO at MAPLE GROVE, 7 p.m.
David says: Former Osseo head coach Derrin Lamker is now on the Edina staff, but this rivalry remains hot. The Orioles are defending Class 6A state champions — an identity Maple Grove craves. One problem: Crimson coach Matt Lombardi is 0-5 against Osseo on the field with one victory by forfeit. The real thing finally comes Thursday.
Pick: Maple Grove 21, Osseo 14
Jim says: This is the best rivalry in Class 6A, perhaps even the state, and it’s been known to get a little salty. It was agony for Maple Grove fans to watch Osseo eke out victory after victory in the 6A playoffs last year. New Osseo coach Ryan Stockhaus will be successful, but there’s just too much working against him in this one.
Pick: Maple Grove 27, Osseo 16
TOTINO-GRACE at EDEN PRAIRIE, 7 p.m.
David says: A quartet of seniors — quarterback Kyle Halverson, fullback Brady Bertram and halfbacks Gayflor Flomo and Ivan Burlak — give Totino-Grace the state’s best backfield. They will get the better of an always solid Eden Prairie defense and earn a road victory.
Pick: Totino-Grace 24, Eden Prairie 17
Jim says: How often does Eden Prairie go into a game with revenge on its mind? Totino-Grace whooped ’em in the 6A quarterfinals last year. Coach Mike Grant will downplay that, but c’mon, who are we kidding? Eden Prairie has been thinking about this one for the better part of a year.
Pick: Eden Prairie 21, Totino-Grace 17
LAKEVILLE NORTH at EAST RIDGE, 7 p.m.
David says: Expect this game to be won by the most successful running back. And don’t be surprised when Lakeville North’s Wade Sullivan outduels future Gopher Dominik London of East Ridge. The Panthers will win at the line of scrimmage and give Sullivan more room to operate.
Pick: Lakeville North 20, East Ridge 13
Jim says: Few coaches are better at motivating players than Lakeville North’s Brian Vossen. If I pick East Ridge, it’s a sure thing that this ends up on the Panthers’ bulletin board. So I’ll take Lakeville North, largely because I think the Raptors will need a few games to fine-tune their mostly new offensive line.
Pick: Lakeville North 28, East Ridge 20