Here are some of Friday’s most interesting high school football games in the East Metro and western Wisconsin. Teams are listed by section seeds:
No. 5 White Bear Lake (3-5) at No. 4 Eagan (3-5), 7 p.m.
White Bear Lake responded to a rough start this season by winning three of its final four regular-season games. The Bears were able to establish the ground game with Avian Atkins. Eagan, meanwhile, lost four straight games before downing rival Eastview in the regular-season finale. Free from the blender of their regular-season schedule, perhaps the Wildcats could regain form and make a run? OUR PICK: Eagan 24, White Bear Lake 14
No. 5 Prior Lake (4-4) at No. 4 Mounds View (4-4), 7 p.m.
Mounds View put together a strong season with a few impressive wins and very competitive losses to earn a home playoff game. Its reward? A date with Prior Lake, which has won three straight and is a team few higher seeds would want to see in the early rounds. OUR PICK: Prior Lake 24, Mounds View 16
No. 6 East Ridge (2-6) at No. 3 Anoka (6-2), 7 p.m.
An aerial attack is sure to break out, as Anoka’s Peyton Podany and East Ridge’s Tanner Zolnosky can fill it up through the air. Who can stop the other team, and maybe force a couple of mistakes, should prove to be a separator. OUR PICK: Anoka 28, East Ridge 20
No. 6 Wayzata (2-6) at No. 3 Forest Lake (5-3), 7 p.m.
Forest Lake has hung its hat on physicality all season. It will be challenged in the first round, as West Metro teams are well known for their physicality. And don’t be fooled by the Trojans’ two wins — Wayzata has narrow losses to the likes of Prior Lake, Minnetonka and Shakopee this season. OUR PICK: Forest Lake 17, Wayzata 13
WISCONSIN SECOND-ROUND GAMES
Division 2: No. 3 Menomonie (8-2) at No. 2 New Richmond (9-1), 7 p.m.
New Richmond beat Menomonie 35-7 in late September. On that night, the Tigers’ offense couldn’t be stopped. Frankly, on a lot of nights this season, New Richmond’s offense couldn’t be stopped. OUR PICK: New Richmond 30, Menomonie 17
Division 4: No. 4 Baldwin-Woodville (8-2), at No. 1 St. Croix Central (9-1), 7 p.m.
If Baldwin-Woodville quarterback Cal Smith, who has missed playing time recently, is in Friday’s game, this one could be interesting. If not, well, it’s tough to see Baldwin-Woodville pulling the upset. St. Croix Central has scored 42-plus points in nine of its 10 games this season, including a 54-21 win over Baldwin-Woodville in early October. OUR PICK: St. Croix Central 49, Baldwin-Woodville 16
Johnson advances in pigskin playoffs nail-biter over Como Park
High school football roundup: Two Rivers shuts out Hastings, sets up clash with Cadets
High school football: Section quarterfinal predictions
Wisconsin high school football: Menomonie tops River Falls again to move on to Level 2 of playoffs
High school football: Check out the Class 6A, 32-team state playoff bracket