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FIELDER’S CHOICES: Gaels’ Martell has persuasive case for Fieldie

It’s the unofficial halfway point of the prep football season, and that means it’s time to give out the Fieldies.

The midseason awards also come with a free hot dog and my “Fielder 2016: Make Prep Football Great Again” bumper sticker for the winners.

The envelopes, please …

■ Most Valuable Player (Class 4A) — Tate Martell, Bishop Gorman. The senior quarterback was electrifying in the opener against Cedar Hill (Texas) and showed his touch on the deep ball against St. John Bosco (California). He’s also the Gaels’ leading rusher through five games and is yet to throw an interception. I can keep going if you’re not convinced.

■ MVP (non-Gorman category) — Samuel Turner, Legacy. The senior is fifth in Southern Nevada with 541 rushing yards for the undefeated Longhorns. He gets the nod over Silverado’s Keikiokalani Misipeka after I flipped a coin between the two running backs.

■ Best “butterfly effect” play — I wonder what would happen if Arbor View’s touchdown with less than a minute left in the opener against Liberty wasn’t called back for a mysterious penalty.

■ Best quote — “I don’t know if that’s the play we wanted, but that’s the play we called.” Desert Oasis coach Michael Ovens, after his offense was stopped inside the 10-yard line on the game’s final play in a 6-0 loss to John Muir (California).

Here are this week’s picks.

■ St. Thomas Aquinas (Florida) at Bishop Gorman — When this matchup was booked in January, it was supposed to serve as a de facto mythical national championship game. Gorman did its part, but the preseason No. 1 Raiders soiled the bed in their opener and now are left playing spoiler.

I wonder if the Gaels will use Tyjon Lindsey at cornerback to cover his former dodgeball opponent and future Ohio State teammate, Aquinas wide receiver Trevon Grimes. “It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for ’em.” … Gorman by 9.

■ Shadow Ridge at Arbor View — The over-under on what time this game ends is 8:51 p.m., and the under is a live ’dog, too, unless Aggies coach Dan Barnson keeps calling pass plays. Arbor View has thrown 62 times this season after attempting 88 passes in 12 games last season.

The Mustangs controlled the clock and rushed for more than 300 yards in their upset win over Las Vegas last week. They’ll have a tougher time replicating that formula against Arbor View, which is allowing 3.1 yards per carry. … Arbor View 13.

■ Legacy at Centennial — The Longhorns seemed bent out of shape about something last week and jumped out to a 31-6 lead on the way to a win over Palo Verde. Could it be because I picked against them??? If so, thanks for reading, guys.

This is a key game for the Bulldogs with the Northwest League shaping up to be a five-team race for four playoff spots. Last year’s game was close, and this one should be, too. … Legacy by 4.

■ Green Valley at Liberty — This is the start of the gantlet in the Southeast League, where all six teams are .500 or above heading into Friday’s games. No other league in Class 4A can make that claim.

The Patriots saw a warp-speed offense in last week’s loss at Centennial-Corona (California). Compared to that, the Gators’ no-huddle attack will look like my grandpa cruising down Flamingo in his Oldsmobile with the turn signal on. … Liberty by 16.

Silverado at Basic — This is a rematch of last year’s Sunrise Region semifinal and features a clash of styles. The Skyhawks look and play like a Big Ten team, while Basic will fling it all over the yard like it’s from the Big 12 Conference.

It’s homecoming for the Wolves, and rumor is the homecoming court will include both male and female football players for the first time. That’s pretty cool, but I don’t know if much else will go right for Basic. … Silverado by 6.

Moapa Valley at Virgin Valley — Road trip to Mesquite! Like all Fielders, I absolutely love the battle for the “Victory Hammer” and think this is the best rivalry in all of Southern Nevada.

The Pirates have won 11 straight against their neighbors, but this is Virgin Valley’s best chance since 2013 to end the skid. Moapa Valley used a trick play that season to swing the tide and likely will try something similar this year. The Bulldogs will be ready. … Virgin Valley by 3.

Chaparral at Las Vegas — This is a huge opportunity for the Cowboys, who would serve notice with a victory over a ranked team from Class 4A. Chaparral features the area’s most productive passing attack with quarterback Santiago Vialpando and receivers Kentrell Petite and Devin Gaddy.

The Wildcats read a few too many of their press clippings and struggled to stop the run in last week’s loss to Shadow Ridge. That won’t happen this time. … Las Vegas by 8.

Rancho at Eldorado — The Rams have been outscored 192-22 this season. Eldorado has been outscored 236-0 in the month of September. But one of these teams is going to win its first game of the season.

More importantly, the winner is almost assured of making the postseason in the five-team Northeast League. … Rancho by 7.

Last week: 5-3, 5-3 (with points)

Season: 30-10, 28-12 (with points)

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

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