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FIELDER’S CHOICES: Raiders no match for Gaels’ ground game

Tony Sanchez, the former Bishop Gorman and current UNLV football coach, has it right. Nothing says America more than football on Thanksgiving.

Four teams — Basic, Bishop Gorman, Liberty and Reed — get to eat turkey and throw around the pigskin today in preparation for the Division I state semifinals.

I get to play in the family two-hand touch game with my cousins. My team lost last year, so as punishment, I have to write one of those lists about what I’m thankful for. Here goes:

* Justin Bieber’s new album.

* The crescent rolls with melted marshmallow inside that Dad makes at Thanksgiving. I eat like 12 of them every year.

* Huddles. All these hurry-up offenses sure make it hard to keep track of the statistics.

With that in mind, here’s my take on Saturday afternoon’s games.

BISHOP GORMAN (13-0) at REED (13-0)

This is the sixth time in the past seven seasons these teams have played, and, quite frankly, I’m getting tired of seeing the Raiders at the later stages of the Division I playoffs.

Reed has won the past five Northern Region championships and outscored its 12 Nevada opponents this season by an average score of 54-19. All the best players in Sparks go there, so it has a built-in advantage.

Maybe the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association should have a special meeting to discuss banning Reed from the postseason?

How Reed can win: Have Bradley Cooper put the “Limitless” pill in the water bottles.

In all seriousness, an upset is not out of the question. The Raiders beat a very good Oak Ridge (Calif.) team and were tied at 21 with the Gaels midway through the second quarter in last year’s state final.

Plus, Gorman might be looking ahead. At least one player is publicly tweeting about the Gaels’ chances for a second straight mythical national title with two games left to play.

Why Gorman will win: I don’t think Reed can stop a good offense, and trying to win a shootout against the Gaels is not the best game plan, especially when it’s supposed to be colder than a polar bear’s butt Saturday afternoon in Sparks.

The bottom line is, if the weather is a factor, Gorman can run “Power O” with running back Biaggio Ali Walsh 35 straight times and score enough points to win. Reed, on the other hand, can’t consistently move the ball against the Gaels defense using only its Plan A. … Bishop Gorman by 20.

LIBERTY (10-1) at BASIC (10-1)

This is a rematch of last year’s Sunrise Region final, which Liberty won, 28-16. And it’s essentially the Southern Nevada public school title game, though I’ll likely get some argument from Arbor View (and maybe even Desert Pines) on that label.

Basic, which owns the east side’s top defense, has never won a region championship. The Patriots, meanwhile, are in search of their sixth straight Sunrise title and bring the region’s most explosive offense into the contest.

Maybe the NIAA should ban … just kidding.

How Basic can win: The same time-tested formula used by football teams for, like, 100 years.

On offense, the Wolves need to pound the ball on the ground with running back Sean White and quarterback Aeneas McAllister to chew up the clock.

More importantly, Basic’s defensive line needs to be disruptive like it was against Silverado in the semifinals. If that happens, the Wolves can make it a four-quarter game, and they might have a secret weapon late with place-kicker Montana Gomez.

Why Liberty will win: In a word, versatility.

The Patriots have an elite quarterback in sophomore Kenyon Oblad and can spread out opposing defenses with a talented receiving corps featuring Darion Acohido, Ethan Dedeaux, Gavin Caci and Bryan Roland.

When that doesn’t work, Liberty just plays smashmouth football with its massive offensive line and running backs Stephon Stowers and Marquell James. No wonder the Patriots average almost 47 points per game. … Liberty by 8.

Last week: 4-2, 2-3-1 (with points)

Season: 79-26, 65-35-2 (with points)

Contact Fielder at Fielder@nevadapreps.com. Follow him: @FielderNVP.

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