Fielder's Choices: Realignment adds life to football playoffs


Few topics on the local prep sports scene have been as divisive as realignment.

Some coaches expressed concern over playing in certain divisions, and parents did what parents do by complaining.

It remains to be seen how winter and spring sports unfold under the umbrella of new Division I and I-A leagues, but it's clear the football version of realignment is a success.

Mojave and Pahrump Valley are both playoff teams and play tonight in I-A Southern Region first-round games. Giving teams that had been overmatched in the old Class 4A leagues a chance to play meaningful games late in October has breathed new life into high school football this fall.

So instead of bringing wise-cracking ridicule as usual, I salute the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, the Clark County School District and various other powers that be who got it right.

I also have a compass for them, so that next season Centennial and Legacy don't play in the Southwest League.

In honor of Nevada Day, I'm picking more games than usual with a loaded Week 10 slate:

■ Arbor View at Palo Verde - The Panthers are too good to be written off, but the Aggies are too motivated to not walk away with their first Double-Wing Classic belt. Arbor View by 6½.

■ Canyon Springs at Green Valley - Consider the following: The Gators have won six straight, held their past three opponents to a combined 69 rushing yards and have one of the state's most underrated kickers in Conor Perkins.

Green Valley has climbed the ladder of contenders with little hype, but I've finally jumped aboard the Instigator Nation bandwagon. Green Valley by 3.

■ Liberty at Basic - It's hard to believe only one player wore Basic jersey No. 7 in last week's win over Del Sol.

Wolves receiver, cornerback and punt returner Devonte Boyd could immediately start at UNLV. (Probably on offense, definitely on defense and maybe on special teams.)

But this game won't be won by perimeter players. It'll be in the trenches, where the Patriots like it. Liberty by 4.

■ Centennial at Legacy - I wrote last week that the Bishop Gorman-Centennial game would be a mockery, but Centennial easily covered in a 49-20 loss.

I've been throwing up a "hook 'em" sign each week as the Longhorns make me look credible, but Coby Newton and the Bulldogs will be hungry to get back on a roll. Centennial by 9.

■ Pahrump Valley at Moapa Valley - The Trojans are in the playoffs for the first time since 2006, but it'll be a short stay. Moapa Valley by 38.

■ Faith Lutheran at Boulder City - The Eagles will be motivated for their first playoff game since 2009, and they'll use their power running game and steady defense to send fans home happy. Boulder City by 11½.

■ Desert Pines at Mojave - The Jaguars have improved since a 29-18 loss at Mojave on Aug. 31, and the young Rattlers are on the unfamiliar playoff stage.

But an underrated Mojave defense, led by tackling machine Billy Murphy, will show up to play. Mojave by 2.

■ Virgin Valley at Cheyenne - The Desert Shields scored 72 points twice during the regular season, and their running game is like a train out of control.

Myloe Lewis gets a lot of attention for his 1,847 yards and 31 touchdowns rushing, but Lewis' teammates have combined for 14 rushing TDs. Cheyenne by 22.

 Last week: 5-1, 2-3-1 (with points)

Season: 40-12, 30-21-1 (with points)

Contact Fielder at fielder@nevadapreps.com. Follow him on Twitter: @FielderNVP.

 

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