FIELDER'S CHOICES: Rivalry week raises stakes


More than just pride and spots in the standings are on the line this week.

In the Northeast, it’s rivalry week, and that means a bone and a cleat are up for grabs. Thankfully, not in the same game. Wouldn’t want too much on the line.

A bone and part of some really old guy’s shoe might not mean much to you, but they mean the world to Las Vegas and Rancho and Eldorado and Chaparral.

Another good week would mean a lot to me. I’ve picked 43 of 54 possible winners right this year. Not bad. Not enough to impress the ladies, though.

I’m gunning for at least seven this week to get to 50. Here goes.

Las Vegas (6-1, 3-0) at Rancho (4-3, 3-0) — The Bone Game is also the game for first place in the Northeast and a matchup of gunslinging quarterbacks in Las Vegas’ Emir Lopez and Rancho’s James Cammack.

The ball will spend a lot of time in the air.

But the game will be decided on the ground by the Wildcats’ Reggie Bullock, who is just too talented of a weapon. Las Vegas by 10.

Eldorado (4-3, 2-1) at Chaparral (2-5, 1-3) — Until about seven years ago, the battle for Merlin Olsen’s cleat wasn’t much of one.

Chaparral won it almost every year.

Lately, Eldorado has had success, but Chaparral won the cleat last season. Tone Gatewood and the Sundevils get it back tonight.

Look for the traditional Battle of the Bands after the game. While you’re doing that, I’ll be looking for the Battle of the Cheerleaders. Eldorado by 4.

Green Valley (5-2, 3-0) at Del Sol (6-1, 3-0) — No bones or cleats here. Simply a battle of Southeast leaders.

Green Valley posted a stunning shutout against Liberty last week and had kicker Nolan Kohorst bang another 50-yard field goal.

Del Sol wasn’t sharp against Coronado. Just an off week, though. Saei Huihui and the Dragons will come out fired up. Del Sol by 5.

Palo Verde (7-0, 4-0) at Arbor View (5-2, 2-2) — Chaz Thomas and Kelly Zurowski have the South’s only remaining Class 4A undefeated team clicking, but they’ll be tested this week by the Aggies and in two weeks by Legacy.

The Panthers just have too many speedy running backs and too good of a defense for most teams to crack. If Thomas gets tired, they give it to Tyrone Blake, or Sidney Hodge or Torin Harris.

Arbor View will keep it on the ground, too, with Taylor Wooten and Gabe Toney, but Toney will be really, really busy on defense trying to catch Palo Verde’s threats. Palo Verde by 8.

Bonanza (5-2, 4-0) at Clark (2-5, 2-2) — There are still two more games left after tonight, yet Bonanza clinches a playoff spot with a win. Didn’t see that coming.

Sterling Sprau is becoming a weapon at quarterback, and Antonio Beals is putting up big numbers on the ground. Note to the Bengals: Try to keep your penalty total under 20 this week.

Clark is coming off a 27-point win at Pahrump and could solidify a playoff spot with another victory.
5-0 Bonanza?!? Yep. Bonanza by 7.

Virgin Valley (6-1, 1-0) at Boulder City (4-2, 0-1) — The Class 3A Southern League is just killing time until the final week when Moapa Valley visits Virgin Valley.

My buddy Jim Konst in Boulder City will see a lot of Colton Teerlink and Terran Leavitt tonight.

Spencer Sasarita and the Eagles have had a nice year, but even their best game isn’t enough. Virgin Valley by 15.

Pahranagat Valley (6-0, 3-0) at Spring Mountain (2-4, 1-2) — Quarterback Taylor Poulsen has the Panthers playing so well they scored on 10 of 22 offensive plays last week.

It might not be quite that good this week, but it’ll be close. Chase Leavitt and Chase Hansen aren’t just good players for Pahranagat, they’re exactly what the Eagles will be trying to do — chase. Pahranagat Valley by 40.

Tonopah (4-2, 3-0) at Sandy Valley (0-6, 0-4) — I’m not exactly going out on a limb picking this game, either.

Tonopah has scored 267 points in the last four weeks. Mike Dolfin will run all over the Sidewinders, and the Muckers (I still love that name) might score 267 in the first half. Tonopah by 62.

Last week: 6-2 (spread), 7-1 (straight up).

Overall: 38-16 (spread), 43-11 (straight up).