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Final pick of season is one of my easiest


In the immortal words of The Doors’ front man Jim Morrison, this is the end.

I’m fixin’ to go into hibernation for the winter — or at least until the basketball playoffs come around — but there’s one more football game to take care of before I can head out.

The Division I state title will be decided Saturday when Reed takes on four-time defending champion Bishop Gorman at Sam Boyd Stadium, which is a bit hard for me to fathom since it seems like yesterday that Eric and I were playing one-on-one during breaks from our summer jobs at Disneyland. (There’s a basketball court in the Matterhorn. Seriously. You can look it up.)

The tackle football season, not to be confused with the Clark County School District’s flag football season, flew by. But looking back, there were several memorable moments.

Not only did Faith Lutheran crash the Division I-A party traditionally hosted by Moapa Valley and Truckee (Calif.), but the consensus No. 1 team in the country (Booker T. Washington of Miami) came to town in early October. And Liberty quarterback Tyler Newman, who tied the state record with nine touchdown passes in one game, nearly broke the state record for most touchdown passes in a season, falling two short.

My picks this year were pretty good, too. Let’s see if I can end on a high note.

■ REED (12-1) vs. BISHOP GORMAN (12-2)

The state final will be televised on KVMY (Cable 12) at 1 p.m., which means you can watch Gaels quarterback Randall Cunningham and still catch the UNLV-Arizona basketball game and the Southeastern Conference championship. Nothing interesting happens in an Auburn football game until the final seconds anyway.

If you’re going to brave the cold and head east to the land of dirt parking lots, make sure to say hello. I’ll be the guy in the Jason Thomas throwback Rebels jersey.

How Reed can win — Hope the Gaels come down with the norovirus that afflicted the youth football teams staying at the Rio last week? I know there’s nothing funny about the flu, but I’m reaching here.

Reed gave up more than 500 yards and was on the ropes last week in the state semifinals until Liberty failed to ice the game on a fourth-and-2 with 1:32 left. And Gorman is better than Liberty.

Granted, the Raiders do have weapons on offense with quarterback Chris Denn, running back Jordan DeLeon and wide receiver Trae Wells. If that unit can stay on the field and the Raiders’ offensive line can match Gorman’s physicality, that’s their best hope.

Why Gorman will win — The Gaels are peaking at the right time.

Gorman has allowed more than seven points once in its past seven games — a 49-21 win over Centennial on Nov. 1 — and is averaging 323.7 yards rushing over that same span.

Early on, it was obvious the Gaels were not as talented at the offensive skill positions as they had been in recent seasons. Once the Gaels found their identity as a smashmouth team, though, they’ve looked unbeatable.

Reed hasn’t won a state title and lost to the Gaels in the playoffs three of the past four seasons, including a 49-24 loss last year. Gorman is riding a 57-game winning streak against in-state competition. This one will be No. 58. ... Gorman by 20.

Last week: 1-1 (1-1 with points)

Season: 81-24 (72-33 with points)

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

 

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