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FIELDER’S CHOICES: Playoff tiebreakers not for the easily confused

This is the final week of the regular season in the Class 4A Sunset Region, and the playoff picture looks like my 4-year-old cousin’s finger-painting.

It’s a complete mess.

Thankfully, all Fielders have an in with the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association’s tiebreaker guy. This is what we know for sure:

*Arbor View and Faith Lutheran have locked up the top two spots in the Northwest League, respectively.

* Bishop Gorman and Sierra Vista play Friday for the Southwest League title, and the loser gets the No. 2 seed.

After that, it’s like trying to learn Hungarian while blindfolded in a swimming pool.

Eight teams are alive for the final four postseason berths, and some of the tiebreakers seem ludicrous. For instance, Desert Oasis can beat Bonanza by three points and still miss out on the playoffs.

Seriously.

I don’t have time to explain all the wacky scenarios, but a complete breakdown is posted here.

Bishop Gorman at Sierra Vista — This will be victory No. 50 in a row for the Gaels. That’s a lot. I asked the Stats and Info Dept. experts whether they were closing in on the state record for 11-man football, and they told me Gorman already set the record. A month and a half ago.

My bad, Gaels.

The Mountain Lions are coming off a bye, so they have that going for them. And they have a defense that has held the opposition to 12 points or fewer in seven of eight games. Make that seven of nine. … Gorman by 49½.

Moapa Valley at Desert Pines — This Class 3A state quarterfinal will be the best game of the week. Shoot, it might even be the best game of the whole 3A playoffs.

I keep thinking this is a down year for the Pirates, and then I remember their three losses came to teams with a combined record of 23-3.

Moapa Valley bounced the Jaguars from the postseason each of the past two seasons. To quote French artist Paul Gauguin, “Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge.” I dream of finishing the “American Ninja Warrior” course, but point taken. … Desert Pines by 6.

Shadow Ridge at Legacy — The playoff scenarios in the Northwest League are so confusing, it made me want to move to the Philippines and bury my head in a bucket of balut. The Mustangs can win and not make the playoffs? Legacy can lose 62-0 and get the No. 4 seed? WTH, NIAA?

I was going to suggest the Longhorns just punt on every first down to ensure they reach the postseason. Then I realized the No. 4 seed from the Northwest meets Gorman to open the Sunset Region playoffs, so that plan is out. … Legacy by 7.

Silverado at Las Vegas — There won’t be many surprises in this Class 4A Sunrise Region quarterfinal considering these teams played in the same league the previous four seasons. Uncle Lefty thinks that should lead to a low-scoring game like last year’s 21-7 win by the Skyhawks.

The Wildcats outscored Eldorado, Rancho and Valley 160-14 the past three weeks to earn a home playoff game. Let’s see what happens when Las Vegas faces a ranked team. … Silverado by .

Centennial at Palo Verde — The Bulldogs’ win over Faith Lutheran last week is partly to blame for the mayhem in the Northwest League. Centennial looked like it was going to miss the playoffs two weeks ago and now can snag the No. 4 seed with a win AND a Legacy win.

The Panthers get the rest of the blame for the Northwest’s chaos. Palo Verde has won two straight and gets in the playoffs under two scenarios: A win AND either a Legacy win or a Shadow Ridge win by 12 or fewer points; OR a win AND if Legacy scores at least nine points.

Ugh, this is so confusing. … Centennial by 3.

Chaparral at Virgin Valley — Let’s take a break from all these tangled playoff scenarios and deal with the Class 3A state quarterfinals for a minute.

This is a rematch from Oct. 14 when Virgin Valley shut down the Cowboys’ offense and came away with a 13-7 victory. The Bulldogs dared Chaparral to run the ball in that game, and they’ll probably have a similar game plan. Heck, it worked well the first time. … Virgin Valley by 7.

Foothill at Canyon Springs — If I was a Falcons fan, I’d be optimistic about my team’s chances to pull the upset in the Class 4A quarterfinals.

These teams have three common opponents (Basic, Cheyenne and Coronado) and each went 3-0. Canyon Springs defeated Cheyenne and Coronado by only six points, while the Falcons won by 43 and 18 points, respectively.

I’m due to hit an upset special eventually, right? … Foothill by 1.

Durango at Spring Valley — The Trailblazers are facing a $20 bill-on-the-ground scenario. Do they walk past or pick it up? Let me explain.

Durango would qualify for the Sunset Region playoffs with a victory OR a loss by 12 or more points. In other words, if it’s a close game late, do the Trailblazers intentionally allow Spring Valley to score to ensure passage into the postseason? It’s an interesting dilemma.

It’s much easier for Spring Valley. Win, and the Grizzlies are in. I like easy. … Spring Valley by 3.

Last week: 4-4, 4-4 (with points)

Season: 61-22, 53-30 (with points)

Contact Fielder at Fielder@nevadapreps.com. Follow @FielderNVP on Twitter.

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