There are some big games tonight in the prep football world. Teams are jockeying for position in their sections, with byes and home playoff games at stake.
Here’s a quick rundown of the schedule:
* Albany at New London-Spicer – This is a huge Section 6-3A game. Albany (4-3) could still wind up with a No. 2 seed with a win over New London-Spicer (3-4). These are former West Central opponents now in new conferences (Albany in the Granite Ridge and NLS in the Wright County). Take Albany, 24-21.
* Litchfield at Annandale – Litchfield (3-4) is another 6-3A team in the running for a No. 2 seed and could get it with a win over Annandale (6-1), which is headed to the top seed in 5-3A. Take Annandale, 24-21.
* Becker at Mora — Becker (6-1) should roll here on its way to a top seed in Section 5-4A. Becker wins, 35-7.
* Eden Valley-Watkins at Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa — This should be close and entertaining. EVW (2-5) has won two straight, with victories over Kimball and Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted. BBE (3-4) lost to Pierz last week and lost to Kimball earlier in the season, but has beaten HLWW. Let’s go with EVW, 28-27.
* Princeton at Foley — Foley has won four straight and is headed to the No. 2 seed in Section 3-A, though a win against Princeton, a Class 4A program, and an Annandale loss could allow the Falcons (5-2) to move up. Princeton (4-3) is coming off a 27-20 loss to Becker and has played everyone tough. Take the home team. Foley wins 20-18.
* Holdingford at Rockford — Holdingford wins its first Central Minnesota Conference title since 2003 with a victory here. Take the Huskers (6-1) over the Rockets (2-5), 28-14.
* Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted at Kimball — Kimball should prevail here, 28-21.
* Milaca at Little Falls — I’m taking the Flyers, who have an excellent running back in Jalen Wuchko, to beat Milaca, 28-21.
* Red Rock Central at Melrose — Another strange nonconference game for the Dutchmen, whose independent schedule has taken them all over the state. Red Rock Central is a Class A program with a 4-3 record. The school is located in the Sanborn area. Their nickname is the Falcons and that’s about all I know, quite honestly. I’ll take the home team, 21-20.
* Paynesville at Minnewaska — Paynesville is another team trying to secure a No. 2 seed, this time in Section 5-2A. The Bulldogs (4-3) and Lakers (3-4) appear evenly matched. Minnewaska could move up in 5-2A with a victory, perhaps past Paynesville, depending on the QRF and how other teams do. Take Paynesville for a road win 24-21.
* Maple Lake at Pierz — This might be the best game in the Central Minnesota Conference. Pierz (6-1) could secure a No. 2 seed in its section with a win over Maple Lake (5-2), which also could move up in its section if the right things happen. Maple Lake is likely a No. 2 seed. Take Pierz, 28-21.
* Rocori at St. Cloud Tech — Both teams could really use a win. Rocori (4-3) has lost three straight and Tech (3-4) also has lost three in a row. Rocori could also win a piece of the Central Lakes Conference title with a win, provided that Apollo knocks off Fergus Falls, which isn’t impossible. Rocori has played really well defensively through its winless drought. Tech has given up a lot of points, especially with the game on the line in the fourth quarter. My inclination is to go with Tech, 14-13.
* Royalton at Wadena-Deer Creek — Royalton should roll. Take the Royals, 28-7.
* St. Cloud Apollo at Fergus Falls — Fergus Falls can win the Central Lakes Conference title outright with a victory. Apollo has won two straight and should make the Otters feel uncomfortable. Fergus Falls should win, but it should be close. Fergus Falls wins, 21-20.
* St. Cloud Cathedral at Zimmerman — Zimmerman needs the win for seedings. Cathedral is really beat up. Take Zimmerman, 28-14.
* Sartell at Bemidji — The Lumberjacks should be favored here. Bemidji wins 28-21.
* Sauk Centre at Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City — I like ACGC, 34-23.
* Willmar at Sauk Rapids — The Cardinals are tough and Sauk Rapids is trying to gain some momentum for Section 8-5A. Take Willmar, 22-12.
Last week: I was 10-4 picking winners and am 79-28 for the season (73.8 percent). Against a mythical point spread, I was 8-6 and am 65-42 for the season (60.7 percent).
The games I was wrong on last week: Eden Valley-Watkins beat Kimball. Holdingford beat Maple Lake. Apollo stunned Tech and Mora knocked off Cathedral.
It has been a fun regular season. Enjoy the long weekend.