Right now, you are probably asking yourself, “Didn’t Fielder write in February that he was going to graduate?” And the answer is yes.
Fielder finally made it out of high school and is about to start college. Shocking, right? But before he left, he handed over this column to me, his younger brother.
That’s right, another Fielder. Nice to meet you.
I couldn’t have picked a better time to start writing, either, because Week 1 of the prep football season is highlighted by the unofficial Clark County School District playoffs.
Liberty, the six-time defending Sunrise Region champion, hosts two-time Sunset Region runner-up Arbor View in one “semifinal.” Centennial travels to Class 3A juggernaut Desert Pines in the other.
Depending on the results Friday, the unofficial public school title game could come Sept. 15 when Liberty takes on Desert Pines.
That’s a ways off, though. Until then, I’ll continue the Fielder family tradition of picking games. And don’t forget to visit Nevadapreps.com for more games from this week’s schedule.
Arbor View at Liberty — This is a long trek for the Aggies, which might explain why these powers located at opposite ends of the valley haven’t played since 2011. Google maps says it’s 29.2 miles between the schools, but it seemed hella farther on my moped.
The contrasting styles of each team makes this matchup so intriguing. Arbor View will try to chew up clock with its running game and then rely on its talented defensive line to slow the Patriots’ high-octane offense. U.S. soccer goalie Hope Solo probably would call the Aggies “cowards.” I wouldn’t. … Liberty by 3.
Centennial at Desert Pines — This summer, Nevadapreps.com ranked its top five quarterbacks in Southern Nevada, and 40 percent of the list will be playing in this game. Centennial’s Jamaal Evans checked in at No. 4, just behind the Jaguars’ Marckell Grayson.
Desert Pines opens against one of the big boys from 4A for the second straight season. We all know what happened last year against Arbor View (50-14!), and the Jaguars are expected to be even better in ’16. … Desert Pines by 7½.
Wells at Pahranagat Valley — It’s party time in Alamo. The host Panthers have won 93 straight games and will set the national record for the longest winning streak in 8-man football with a victory.
The Panthers never lose to Wells, their traditional season-opening opponent. That means only 57 more wins to catch De La Salle (California). … Pahranagat Valley by 21.
Bishop Gorman at Cedar Hill, Texas (Saturday) — This appears to be the Gaels’ toughest test since they rose to national prominence six years ago. Not only is Gorman entering a hostile road environment, but this game is being billed by some as a referendum on Texas football, so the Gaels will have an entire state rooting against them.
Much of that ire will be directed at Gorman quarterback Tate Martell, who decommitted from Texas A&M this spring and is blamed for the death of Harambe by residents of the Lone Star State. Martell says he feeds off the boos. We’ll see if he’s right. …
Bishop Gorman by 1.
Las Vegas at Palo Verde — If the unofficial CCSD playoffs were held 10 years ago, these teams undoubtedly would have duked it out in the final. They’re both still pretty good, but as Bob Dylan sang, the times they are a-changin’.
The Wildcats bring back a wealth of weapons on offense and should be one of the most explosive teams in the Sunrise Region. Palo Verde’s strength figures to be on the defensive side of the ball. But I think the eastsiders will be further along at this early stage. … Las Vegas by 4.
Desert Oasis at Green Valley — The Diamondbacks go through coaches faster than my dad goes through sushi. And you should see him crush a shrimp tempura roll. Michael Ovens is DO’s fourth coach in the past four seasons, but he was on the staff last season, so at least there should be some continuity.
Green Valley is breaking in several newbies at the skill positions, which usually doesn’t bode well for a season opener. Uncle Lefty likes under the total of 43, and I’ll go with the Gators despite their inexperience. … Green Valley by 3½.
Foothill at Cheyenne — I’ve seen some odd pairings in my brief life. Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton, for instance. Or pickle-flavored snowcones. But this matchup is right up there. Have these schools ever played? In any sport? Seriously.
I can only imagine the conversation that took place between the Falcons players when the schedule was released.
“We’re playing Cheyenne in Week 1.”
“Cool. I’ve never been to Wyoming.” … Foothill by 6.
Canyon Springs at Coronado — These teams, on the other hand, are quite familiar with each other, having played three times since 2013. The Cougars won last year’s matchup 30-13, but that game film probably won’t prove very useful.
The Pioneers have a new coach and a host of new players. They also have a new scheme on offense. I hope it’s a spread system that throws the ball a lot so I can refer to first-year coach Gus “Air” McNair. … Coronado by 8.
Last week: 0-0, 0-0 (with points)
Season: 0-0, 0-0 (with points)
Contact Fielder at Fielder@nevadapreps.com. Follow him: @FielderNVP