Staff writers David La Vaque and Jim Paulsen are back at trying to predict winners in high school football, and they disagreed on only one of the six games they studied in Week 1. David got it right, and he heads into Week 2 with a 6-0 record to Jim's 5-1. There's opportunity for more separation this week because they agree on only one of the three games in play. Here's their debate:
Shakopee Sabers (1-0) at Prior Lake Lakers (1-0), 7 p.m.
Jim says: Shakopee did pretty much anything it pleased against Anoka, rolling up 487 yards rushing, 553 total. I don't expect things to go so smoothly against Prior Lake, which showed off its defensive chops by blanking Hopkins 43-0. The Lakers' cadre of exceptional skill players should be able to score enough to pull this one out. The pick: Prior Lake 40, Shakopee 32
David says: Shakopee's Jadon Hellerud and Garrison Monroe combined for 278 of those rushing yards, proof there is life for the Sabers after graduating the bulk of a jackhammer offensive line. That said, Prior Lake rose to prominence in the early polls thanks to great play on both sides of the line of scrimmage. The pick: Shakopee 28, Prior Lake 21
Lakeville North Panthers (1-0) at Lakeville South Cougars (1-0), 7 p.m.
Jim says: The Battle of Lakeville will capture most everyone's attention in this south metro city of 65,000-plus. North had won nine straight, but South has now claimed bragging rights three years in row. South plays at Eden Prairie next week, and that might be a distraction in any other week, but I don't see them overlooking their crosstown rival. The pick: Lakeville South 28, Lakeville North 20
David says: Lakeville North initially contained South's power-T offense thanks to superior talent on the defensive line. That gap closed, leaving North to struggle as so many opponents do against South's sleight-of-hand attack. Running backs Carson Hansen and Ryder Patterson had a field day last week — and South has more where that came from. The pick: Lakeville South 14, Lakeville North 10
Andover Huskies (1-0) at Elk River Elks (1-0), 7 p.m.
Jim says: Both teams hit 52 in Week 1. Andover senior QB Landyn Nelson, who played sparingly last year, and senior WR Sam Musungu seem to have a natural synergy, connecting 10 times for 214 yards and three TDs in their opener. The Elks ran for a measly (for them) 199 yards in beating Cambridge-Isanti, but I expect them to add significantly to that total. Last team to score wins. The pick: Elk River 48, Andover 42
David says: Give me the under. The defenses allowed just 21 points combined in Week 1 — and none in the first half. No coach wants to get into a track meet on turf if they can help it. And the familiarity of these teams, plus their mutual respect, will show throughout a lower-scoring, grinding type of game. The pick: Andover 28, Elk River 21