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Two more days remain in the high school football season, seven more games to determine seven champions.

Jim Paulsen and David La Vaque will settle their own competition in those seven games, too, and it is too close to call. In their annual effort to predict winners of high school football games, Jim is 44-18, David 43-19.

Their picks and their analysis for Friday's four games at U.S. Bank Stadium:


Springfield Tigers (12-1) vs. Minneota Vikings (13-0), 10 a.m.

Jim says: While much is made of Minneota's extensive Prep Bowl experience, the thing that sets the Vikings apart is execution. They run their offense with precision and accountability, and mistakes rarely happen. They play to their strengths and dare opponents to stop them. To beat Minneota, the opponent needs to be nearly perfect, because the Vikings are too well-schooled to beat themselves. Springfield has the motivation in this rematch from last year's Class 1A final, but Minneota wins again. The pick: Minneota 36, Springfield 20

David says: Springfield also has quarterback Jakob Nachreiner, who teams with receiver Carter Olson to form a nearly unstoppable passing attack. They accounted for seven receptions, 136 yards and one touchdown against Mahnomen/Waubun in the semifinals. Produce enough big plays and beating Minneota suddenly isn't too tall a task. Easier said than done, of course. And the Vikings have the look of repeat Prep Bowl champions. The pick: Minneota 41, Springfield 22


Barnesville Trojans (13-0) vs. Eden Valley-Watkins Eagles (12-0), 1 p.m.

Jim says: This is another game where it's easy to find arguments in favor of both teams. Teams don't often find ways to score on Eden Valley-Watkins' defense, which flexes a little but rarely gives way. And Eagles QB Nolan Geislinger is a two-way threat who can beat you with his arm and his legs. But defending champion Barnesville and its T-formation offense are built for postseason success. The pick: Barnesville 28, Eden Valley-Watkins 16

David says: The ol' T-formation is the little black dress of Minnesota prep football circles: simple but always fashionable. Barnesville gets its offense rolling on the ground and refuses to give the ball back. This year's group can throw the ball a little, too. Quarterback Zachary Bredman passed for 118 yards and two touchdowns in beating Jackson County Central in the semifinals. The pick: Barnesville 21, Eden Valley-Watkins 14


Rocori Spartans (10-2) vs. Hutchinson Tigers (10-2), 4 p.m.

Jim says: The proverbial immovable object, Rocori's defense, faces off against the irresistible force, Hutchinson's running attack. Round 1 went to Rocori, which blanked Hutchinson 11-0 on Sept. 22 at Hutch. The Tigers offense has found another gear since, adding running back Nathan Thode to the mix, and is averaging more than 41 points per game since the loss. Rocori has already avenged its two regular-season losses in the postseason, beating Detroit Lakes and Becker, and held Byron to only 162 total yards in the semifinals. The pick: Hutchinson 20, Rocori 14

David says: It's high time for Hutchinson to enjoy some redemption. First, for losing to Simley in the Prep Bowl last year. And second, for getting blanked 11-0 by Rocori this season. Two weeks after the Sept. 22 loss, the Tigers shuffled the lineup and began achieving success. Moving Nathan Thode to running back triggered their current seven-game winning streak. Thode, fellow running back Carter Verhasselt and runner/receiver Charlie Renner are hitting on all cylinders this time. The pick: Hutchinson 18, Rocori 14


Centennial Cougars (11-1) vs. Edina Hornets (9-3), 7 p.m.

Jim says: They might not have the well-established reputations of other Class 6A powers, but this is the right matchup for the finals. These are the two teams in the class playing the best football right now. On paper, Edina looks to have the edge, with its diversity and playmakers on offense, but I love how Centennial plays. The Cougars want to line up and hit, and they do it well. They might not impress with flash and style, but they know who they are and believe that when the dust clears, they will be left standing. The pick: Centennial 26, Edina 23

David says: Maple Grove coach Matt Lombardi believes the defense's ability to disrupt ball control is paramount to deciding a winner. Edina, he said, must prevent 10-minute drives by physical and patient Centennial. Meanwhile, the Cougars must get off the field on third downs against a Hornets team featuring a durable running back in John Warpinski and a passing attack in which sophomore quarterback Mason West finds receivers Meyer Swinney and Sonny Villegas. "We had Edina third-and-8 and fourth-and-5 or longer nine times," Lombardi said. "And they went 9-for-9." The pick: Edina 28, Centennial 21