Survey time. Raise your hand if you said from the start of the year that Arbor View and Centennial would be among the final eight in the Class 4A football playoffs.
All right, unless you go to one of those schools or are in some other way connected with their football teams, put your hand down because you’re lying.
Actually, beyond Palo Verde and Bishop Gorman, it wasn’t an easy year to predict who would be good.
Mad props to the Aggies and Bulldogs for getting this far. Keeping it going, though, is a whole different animal.
Here are this week’s Class 4A picks, except for the Carson-McQueen game in Northern Nevada, because I really don’t care about that.
For the small-school title game picks, head to Nevadapreps.com and click on the cutest cartoon character you can find.
■ Centennial (8-3) at Palo Verde (11-0) — Why Centennial can win: Defense will keep the Bulldogs in the game.
Let’s be honest. For years, Centennial underachieved. Now the Bulldogs are living up to and maybe surpassing their potential, and it’s all because of a defense that has allowed more than 20 points in only four games.
Why Palo Verde can win: The Panthers have more weapons than just Brandon Wright. The offense is good, and the defense might be better.
When the Panthers visited Centennial on Sept. 16, Palo Verde won 21-0 and held Centennial to 44 yards.
This shouldn’t be high scoring, and Centennial will have to find some way to get into the end zone. Palo Verde by 12.
■ Arbor View (10-1) at Bishop Gorman (10-2) — Why Arbor View can win: I hate to say this about a 10-1 team, but I just don’t see how Arbor View wins this.
The Aggies can try to control the clock with their running game and try to wear down Gorman with Roderick Eason and Christian Rodriguez, but they’re coming off a two-point win over Durango – a team Gorman beat the week before, 56-6.
Why Gorman can win: Maybe you haven’t been paying attention all year. Maybe you haven’t noticed that in nine games against Nevada teams, it’s Gorman 506, Opponents 12.
Shaquille Powell is close to healthy. And the only team standing between the Gaels and another state title is … well, Gorman itself. Gorman by 24.
■ Liberty (10-1) at Las Vegas (11-1) — Why Liberty can win: The Patriots are big and strong … and big.
The Patriots’ defense, anchored by Sam Tai, doesn’t give up many points, and the offense does just enough to win.
Why Las Vegas can win: When he’s on, it’s hard to stop quarterback Hasaan Henderson, and with the speed of Cameron Rogers and the elusiveness of Farrell Victor, the Wildcats can score from anywhere on the field.
Liberty hasn’t looked quite as sharp the last four weeks, but Las Vegas wasn’t exactly great last week, either.
It’s a toss-up, and for a change, I’ll go with the road team. Liberty by 4.
Last week: 8-3 (overall), 6-5 (with points)
Season: 84-20 (overall), 67-37 (with points)
Contact Fielder at email@example.com.In-depth high school sports coverage