MINNEOTA (13-0) VS. MAYER LUTHERAN (12-1), 10 A.M.
Two dominant teams meet for what should be a fantastic Prep Bowl opener. Mayer Lutheran’s lone loss came in Week 1, and it avenged that defeat by soundly beating its Week 1 opponent, Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop in the section final. But Minneota simply doesn’t surrender points. The Vikings have nine shutouts this season, and it would have been 10 had Rushford-Peterson not scored with 85 seconds left in last week’s state semifinal. Our pick: Minneota 13, Mayer Lutheran 6
CHATFIELD (12-1) VS. WEST CENTRAL AREA/ASHBY (11-1), 1 P.M.
Chatfield will is likely be without star quarterback Sam Backer, suspended from this game because he was ejected from Chatfield’s semifinal game after he was assessed two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Backer’s family is reportedly fighting the suspension in court, with a decision expected Friday morning. But those pursuits are usually not fruitful. Chatfield’s efforts, however, just may be either way. Our pick: Chatfield 21, West Central Area/Ashby 14
KASSON-MANTORVILLE (9-3) VS. HUTCHINSON (11-1), 4 P.M.
Kasson-Mantorville rallied from a two-touchdown fourth-quarter deficit in the state semis to knock off the tournament favorite, Becker. Hutchinson’s lone loss this season came to Becker. Led by dual-threat quarterback Matt Donovan, Kasson-Mantorville is one of the most tested teams in the state. That matters on this stage. Our pick: Kasson-Mantorville 26, Hutchinson 21
LAKEVILLE SOUTH (12-0) VS. MAPLE GROVE (11-1), 7 P.M.
Shakopee is the only team that can claim it truly tested the Cougars all season. If another team is capable of that feat, it would be Maple Grove. The Crimson’s cruise through the Class 6A playoffs has been impressive. Their defense is dominant and running back Derrick Jameson is impressive. That said, Lakeville South still appears to be stronger across the board. The Cougars are talented, tough and well-coached. They’ve answered every challenge over the past two years. Why would that stop now? Our pick: Lakeville South 28, Maple Grove 17
*All state championship games are played at U.S. Bank Stadium
East Metro football Player of the Year: Lakeville South’s Carson Hansen
State football roundup: Minneota, Mayer Lutheran reach Class A final
High school football: Lakeville South off to Class 6A title game with win over St. Michael-Albertville
State football semifinals: Mahtomedi rolls over short-handed Cooper to reach 5A final
High school football roundup: Rice Lake falls in Wisconsin’s Division 3 final