So, how can both Jim Paulsen and David La Vaque have identical 5-1 records after two weeks of play? The obvious answer would be padding their stats, which wouldn’t be far from the truth. They no longer disagree just to disagree, but they clash enough to keep things interesting. There are two nights of high school football this week, so Jim and David have six opportunities to go head-to-head: These three on Thursday, three more coming Friday.


Armstrong (2-0) at Cooper (2-0), 7 p.m.

Jim says: Cooper has the home field and reputation as one of the metro’s fastest teams, so Armstrong will need to be careful. The Falcons have too much size and depth for the Hawks, however, and that will show in the second half.

Pick: Armstrong 24, Cooper 22

David says: The philosophy at Cooper has been to play the best available athletes at all positions regardless of size. While athleticism isn’t a cure-all, expect the skilled Hawks to have an edge.

Pick: Cooper 31, Armstrong 21


Rogers (2-0) at

St. Michael-Albertville (1-1), 7 p.m.

Jim says: This rivalry has grown so big that fans are willing to stand three-deep around the STMA Middle School track. They have split the past two meetings, both decided by a point. I’m leaning toward St. Michael-Albertville, assuming the Knights avoid turnovers that plagued them in a loss to Moorhead.

Pick: St. Michael-Albertville 33, Rogers 28

David says: The Rogers offense came around, scoring 38 points last week. The Royals’ defense, however, played solid games in both previous outings. There is a little more to like about Rogers right now. Here’s to another one-point victory margin.

Pick: Rogers 21, St. Michael-Albertville 20


Park of Cottage Grove (2-0) at St. Thomas Academy (2-0), 7 p.m.

Jim says: These are heady times around Park, which hasn’t won its first two games of the season since sometime in the 1900s. Is the Wolfpack ready to play with the big boys? Perhaps, but defeating St. Thomas Academy at home is just too much to ask.

Pick: St. Thomas Academy 34, Park 20

David says: So far this season Park, a former Suburban East Conference team, has owned teams from the former Classic Suburban. The Cadets called the Classic Suburban home, so let’s stick with the Wolfpack to stay undefeated.

Pick: Park 27, St. Thomas Academy 21