Disagreement rules this week after David La Vaque (10-5) took a one-game lead over Jim Paulsen (9-6) by correctly prognosticating all three of last week’s games. With the second half of the regular season beginning, will either one create some separation?
East Ridge (3-1) vs. Cretin-Derham Hall (3-1), 7 p.m.
(at University of St. Thomas)
Jim says: Cretin-Derham Hall has been outscored 27-7 in the first quarter. East Ridge isn’t the quick-strike team it was last year, but the Raptors will score early, then use the legs of RB Dominik London and QB Otumus Payemanu to wear down the Raiders.
Pick: East Ridge 21, Cretin-DH 14
David says: The Raiders were without leading rusher Kenneth Udoibok in their 19-14 loss at Woodbury. Now at full strength, the team can win if the offense continues to play mistake-free football. Cretin-Derham Hall’s next turnover will be its first.
Pick: Cretin-DH 28, East Ridge 22
Minneapolis North (4-0) at St. Paul Central (4-0), 7 p.m.
Jim says: After three easy victories and a forfeit win, Class 1A’s No. 1-ranked North is facing its toughest opponent of the season. The Polars have the talent and athleticism to match up with much larger foes, but do they have the depth? I think they squeak by.
Pick: North 24, Central 22
David says: Central is a Class 5A team accustomed to bigger battles. The Minutemen average more than 450 yards of offense each game and have outscored opponents 58-0 in the first quarter. Expect Central to make this matchup of unbeatens a lopsided one.
Pick: Central 41, North 14
Rogers (3-1) at St. Francis (4-0), 7 p.m.
Jim says: St. Francis begins a brutal three-game stretch, following up with games against St. Michael-Albertville and Elk River. The Saints have a nice balance between the running game and the passing of Hunter Trautman. That and the home field has me leaning toward St. Francis.
Pick: St. Francis 30, Rogers 23
David says: Rogers flubbed its first big game in a loss at St. Michael-Albertville. Don’t expect coach Marc Franz’s team to be caught flat-footed twice. Opponents manage just 61.5 rushing yards per game against a stout Royals’ defense.
Pick: Rogers 28, St. Francis 21