Week 8: Prep football picks

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.


Tom Elliott

About Tom Elliott

Follow Tom Elliott at https://twitter.com/sctimestom Elliott is the prep sports coordinator of Times Media, which includes the St. Cloud Times newspaper. He has worked for the paper since the beginning of time, except for a three-plus-year stretch as the sports editor of The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, Calif., from 1994-97.
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