MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s Week 3 in high school football in Minnesota, which means conferences around the state are starting to take shape and seasons are starting to come together.

For teams that got off to a slow start, it’s still early enough that they can recover and make a successful regular season happen. For those that are winning, it’s all about keeping the momentum going as the fall continues and the playoffs approach.

There’s always that week in high school football where rival teams square off, making it even more fun to strap on the pads that particular week. This seems to be this week, with a lot of great match-ups going on across the metro. Not only do games have conference implications, but bragging rights are on the line for a year in many instances.

There are a ton of great games this week, but we can only pick four.

(Featured Game) Elk River (2-0) at Centennial (2-0)

There’s a fantastic Northwest Suburban Conference showdown taking place in Circle Pines Friday night between a pair of undefeated teams as Centennial hosts Elk River. The Cougars are 2-0 after beating Andover 20-12 in Week 1 and Champlin Park 22-21 last week. Elk River shut out Coon Rapids 47-0 and beat Andover 55-34. It’s our featured game for WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally.

When the two teams met last year, Centennial won the game 26-7. The Cougars are led by quarterback Ryan Meany, who has 210 passing yards and two touchdowns on the season. Running back Tyler Iaquinto has been a horse with 45 carries for 226 yards and two touchdowns on the season. They’ve won two close games, which should bode well for later in the postseason.

There’s not much mystery to Elk River’s game. The Elks run the football, and they run it a lot. They’re led by Zach Ernst’s 244 yards and five touchdowns in two games. Quarterback Trent Pink has nearly 100 rushing yards and five touchdowns as the team’s second-leading rusher.

It should be a great battle between two teams with different approaches. I’ll give the edge to Centennial, playing on its home turf.

Chanhassen (2-1) at Chaska (1-2)

Big time bragging rights are on the line Friday night in the Metro West Conference as Chaska hosts Chanhassen. The Hawks are looking for their second win of the season after losing two of their first three games. They’re also coming off a tough 27-26 home loss to Benilde-St. Margaret’s. Chanhassen is off to a 2-1 start with wins over South St. Paul and Richfield. In between is a 36-0 loss to Hudson (Wis.) in Week 2.

Hutchinson (2-0) at Glencoe-Silver Lake (1-1)

One of the great match-ups west of the Twin Cities happens every fall when Hutchinson and Glencoe-Silver Lake square off on the football field. This year’s battle takes place in Glencoe as the Panthers host the Tigers. It’s been a back-and-forth rivalry and last year, Hutchinson pounded Glencoe-Silver Lake 36-7. It was just the beginning of a championship season for the Tigers. Hutchinson is coming off a 58-8 win over Annandale in Week 1 and a 49-7 win over Mound Westonka last week. Glencoe-Silver Lake recovered from a Week 1 loss to Orono with a 14-0 win at New Prague last week.

Osseo (1-1) at Eden Prairie (3-0)

Defending Class 6A champion Eden Prairie is off and rolling this year as it aims for a third consecutive state championship. The Eagles are 3-0 with wins over Minneapolis South (48-6), Oak Park (53-17) and a tough 19-15 win over Eastview last week. The Orioles are 1-1 after beating Irondale 56-8 in Week 1 and losing at Minnetonka 28-17 last week. Osseo has a tall task in trying to stop Eden Prairie’s bruising run game, but it might even be tougher for the Orioles to compete with the Eagles’ fast, physical defense.

Tune into WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally at about 10:20 p.m. Friday as Mike Max, Frank Vascellaro and David McCoy will have all the action covered. Also tune into the WCCO Radio Rally on 830 AM for scores and updates through the night.

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