Week 3 predictions: Nobody’s perfect and somebody’s ahead

Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune/TNS

Reasons for Jim Paulsen to stop celebrating and for David La Vaque to stop despairing:

It's a small sample size.

It's early.

It's close.

Jim and David, staff writers for the Star Tribune, are on their annual trek through the high school football season, trying to predict winners each week. Jim staged a rally last week, going 3-for-3; David fell off, going 1-2, his first misses of the season. Jim is 8-1 in 2022, David 7-2.

They are on to three more games this week, and they disagree on one of them. Their picks and analysis:

Lakeville South Cougars (2-0) at Eden Prairie Eagles (2-0), 7 p.m.

Jim says: It doesn't get any bigger than this. No. 1 in the Metro Top 10 vs. No. 2, defending state champs against the most successful program in state history. Lakeville South won in a rout last season, 42-7. Eden Prairie is better this year but will need serious Mike Grant chutzpah to pull this one out. The pick: Lakeville South 27, Eden Prairie 21

David says: Grant praised Lakeville South last year for the butt kicking the Cougars applied. He also offered a caveat. The Eagles were inexperienced at several positions. Well, Eden Prairie boasts 14 returning starters this time around. But it won't matter. South is the standard now. The pick: Lakeville South 35, Eden Prairie 17

Maple Grove Crimson (2-0) at Minnetonka Skippers (2-0), 7 p.m.

Jim says: Everybody knows about talented Maple Grove QB Jacob Kilzer, who is dangerous with his arm and his feet. But his counterpart, junior Milos Spasojevic, is putting up some impressive numbers of his own: 34-for-44 for 435 yards and five touchdowns. Can Minnetonka avoid the mistakes that have doomed two previous Maple Grove foes? The pick: Maple Grove 30, Minnetonka 21

David says: Maple Grove's experience and talent in the defensive secondary will squeeze the Minnetonka passing game. Meanwhile, Kilzer and running backs Jordan Olagbaju and Charlie Rausch (300 yards and six touchdowns combined) will overwhelm the Skippers defense. The pick: Maple Grove 28, Minnetonka 7

Spring Lake Park Panthers (2-0) at Chanhassen Storm (2-0), 7 p.m.

Jim says: Spring Lake Park's run-heavy attack methodically wore down Benilde-St. Margaret's a week ago, building up a 49-point lead in the third quarter of a 56-14 victory. Does Chanhassen have enough in its tank to bounce back strong from an emotional one-point victory over rival Chaska? I say yes. The pick: Chanhassen 26, Spring Lake Park 22

David says: Spring Lake Park's veer offense, fueled by quarterback Brayden Talso and a stable of capable running backs, will dictate the game's tempo and grind the Storm into submission. Spring Lake Park has run for 13 touchdowns this season — and only two covered 13 yards or more. The pick: Spring Lake Park 31, Chanhassen 16