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FIELDER’S CHOICES: Southeast League has room to improve

I don’t check email often since my inbox usually is filled with stuff from Nigerian princes (that scam still works?) and bad jokes that Eric forwards to me. I really should block him.

But we have a substitute teacher in English this week, and I’ve already read “Brave New World,” so I jumped online for a minute to kill some time during second period. Don’t judge, you know you do it, too.

Turns out, some of you had questions for me at my fielder@nevadapreps.com account. And since everyone else in class right now is reading about “Our Ford” and “soma,” I thought I’d respond to a few of your emails.

“Hey, aren’t you 35 by now?”

Bart Simpson has been in the fourth grade for 20 years, and you’re bustin’ my chops? Don’t worry, I’ll have to show my student ID to get into tonight’s Legacy-Arbor View showdown.

“A high school freshman in Louisiana made an oral commitment to LSU this week. So, who is the best college prospect in Southern Nevada?”

Bishop Gorman tight end Alize Jones. The 6-foot-4-inch, 218-pound junior is the prototype “F” receiver in the increasingly popular “12” personnel grouping. And you probably thought I didn’t know anything about football. Ha!

“What is wrong with the Southeast League?”

No kidding. Six teams, a combined record of 4-16 and not a .500 squad in the bunch. The past four Sunrise Region champs resided in the Southeast League, and Liberty will be tough to unseat, but the Northeast definitely has strength in numbers this time around.

“Bishop Gorman 20, Bergen Catholic (N.J.) 17. Now do you believe the Gaels are one of the top 10 teams west of the Rockies?”

Nope. Beat top-ranked Booker T. Washington (Fla.) on Oct. 4 and I’ll change my mind, though. Until then …

I’ve been on a solid run lately with my picks, so here’s a few more.

■ Desert Oasis at Canyon Springs — Only four Division I teams in Southern Nevada still are undefeated, and two of them go head to head in this one. The Diamondbacks are averaging 49.5 points per game, and running back Jocquez Kalili has 10 touchdowns in two games, but all that was against nonplayoff teams.

The Pioneers have held their three opponents scoreless in the first half, and Hunkie Cooper’s squad has shown an ability to wear down teams after halftime. Sounds like a winning formula to me. … Canyon Springs by 6.

■ Silverado at Palo Verde — This game is a psychiatrist’s dream with two sides that appear to have split personalities. Will we see the Skyhawks team that blanked Durango last week and nearly rallied from a 24-point deficit against Foothill, or the one that was outscored 73-29 in its first seven quarters of the season?

And what about the Panthers? Will we see the version that raced past Legacy in its opener or the one that blew a 27-14 third-quarter lead at Green Valley? Your guess is as good as mine. … Palo Verde by 10.

■ Las Vegas at Rancho — Let’s get this out of the way up front: The 57th edition of the “Bone Game” won’t be close. Sorry, Rams fans. Still, this is the oldest football rivalry in the state, and I’m a total sucker for nostalgia.

The Wildcats have won 17 straight over their rival, outscoring Rancho 715-174 during that span, and lead the series 30-25-1. I’ll leave it at that. … Las Vegas by 35.

■ Faith Lutheran at Mojave — The coaches for these teams probably don’t want to admit it, but with most of the Division I-A heavy hitters in the other league, this looks like the de facto Sunset League championship game.

The Crusaders are riding a three-game winning streak thanks in part to an increasingly stingy defense. The Rattlers have lost two straight against higher-level competition. This is when playing a difficult schedule pays off. … Mojave by 7.

■ Sierra Vista at Foothill — The Mountain Lions have been tough to read through two games since they’ve been on both sides of a blowout. After this one, we should have a better idea of whether Maliek Broady, Randal Grimes and Co., are capable of earning one of the final two playoff spots that will be up for grabs in the Northwest League.

The Falcons had a week off , and a win here would give the Southeast League at least one .500 team heading into October. Huzzah! … Foothill by 7.

■ Eldorado at Cimarron-Memorial — This is a major step up for the Sundevils, who needed to hold on for a win over Sunrise Mountain last week. The Spartans are one of those four remaining unbeatens I mentioned earlier, and they’ve done it with defense and a running game led by workhorse Michael Barnson. I’m predisposed to like those types of teams. … Cimarron by 11.

■ Valley at Basic — Another one of those classic Northeast vs. Southeast matchups we’ve come to love.

The Vikings are on a two-game losing streak and have struggled to generate offense during the skid. Basic comes in 0-3 vs. the Northeast League, but Antraye Johnson gives the Wolves the edge. … Basic by 6.

■ Mountain View at The Meadows — The winner of this one will have the inside track to the Division III Southern League regular-season title.

The Saints’ vaunted rushing attack is off to a somewhat sluggish start but was still good enough for the defending league champs to squeak out a four-point win over Agassi Prep last week. The Mustangs have had no such issues thanks to running back Bryson Navallo (ne’ Bickart).

Normally, I’d side with the home team in a matchup this even. But as Ric Flair says, “To be The Man, you’ve gotta beat The Man.” … Mountain View by 1.

Last week: 6-2, 5-3 (with points)

Season: 24-8, 20-12 (with points)


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