David La Vaque takes zero credit for the late St. Paul Central touchdown drive and furious Rogers comeback that turned a possible winless week into a solid 2-1 showing. But he sure appreciates them. This week, David (12-6) and Jim Paulsen (10-8) agree on two games while taking sides for a meeting of undefeated teams no one saw coming.
Prior Lake (4-1) at Eden Prairie (5-0), 7 p.m.
Jim says: Coaches never admit to looking ahead, but let’s be truthful: Prior Lake has had this game circled all season. I’m itching to pick upset because Prior Lake’s defense will keep this game close. But to quote the late, great Jim Croce, “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape.” Eden Prairie will pull this one out, but it will be the Eagles’ toughest victory of the season.
Pick: Eden Prairie 20, Prior Lake 13
David says: Prior Lake’s offense typically spreads the ball around to receivers. Last week against Edina, however, the Lakers completed just one pass but ran for 228 yards. Either way, Eden Prairie’s defense will be ready. The Eagles roll to consecutive victory No. 36.
Pick: Eden Prairie 28, Prior Lake 17
Totino-Grace (4-1) at Champlin Park (3-2), 7 p.m.
Jim says: Coming off a huge and convincing victory over Osseo, Champlin Park should have plenty of momentum. The formula for beating Totino-Grace is shut down the running game, limit big plays and, above all, do not turn the ball over. Easy to say, much harder to do. The Eagles never beat themselves.
Pick: Totino-Grace 27, Champlin Park 22
David says: Stopping one solid running back is tough enough. Totino-Grace running backs Ivan Burlak and Gayflor Flomo each average more than 100 yards per game. So expect the Eagles to grind out drives, control the clock and keep their defense fresh.
Pick: Totino-Grace 35, Champlin Park 14
Mound Westonka (5-0) at Minneapolis Henry (5-0), Saturday, 1 p.m.
Jim says: These undefeated teams are easily the most pleasant surprise of the season. A sixth victory for Mound Westonka would be a first since Jimmy Carter was president (1979). The White Hawks have outscored opponents 191-7. The defense, stout and stubborn, has given up just 110.8 yards per game.
Pick: Mound Westonka 31, Minneapolis Henry 16
David says: An unexpected, meaningful matchup to make any prep football fan smile. Henry showed toughness last week coming back to win at Columbia Heights. Quarterback Quentin Skinner and a stable of talented running backs give the Patriots punch.
Pick: Minneapolis Henry 27, Mound Westonka 21