FIELDER’S CHOICES: Silverado just might slide by

It’s always nice to be appreciated.
Following his team’s win that punched a postseason ticket last week, Silverado coach Andy Ostolaza thanked me — well, the Review-Journal, but me indirectly — for providing the Skyhawks with extra incentive.
Seems they didn’t like the Silverado slide too well.
Two things, Silverado.
One, congratulations; you earned it. And, two, before you get rid of the slide, consider pouring some water down it and calling it the Silverado Slip ’n Slide. Then toss your opponents down it.
It’s playoff time on the right side of town, so no more joking around.
I still can joke on the left side. They don’t start the postseason ’til next week.
Check out my small-school picks elsewhere on this site. On to the big schools…
Silverado (6-3) at Canyon Springs (6-3)
There are no slides at Canyon Springs, but from what Pioneers coach Hunkie Cooper — I still love that name — said in the postgame huddle last week, there are lots of potholes.
Malik Brown and Donnel Pumphrey lead a run-oriented offense. Both are knocking on the door of 1,000-yard seasons.
But the Pioneers lost two games to teams that finished behind Silverado in the Southeast League.
The Skyhawks’ offense still isn’t what some of us thought it might be. The defense, led by Bennie Harris and Corey Iwata, has been good, allowing 14 or fewer points five times.
I’m still not sold on the Skyhawks, but they’ll slide by. Silverado by 6.
Desert Pines (5-4) at Foothill (9-1)
A rematch from Sept. 11 has the Jaguars trying to avenge a 31-12 loss to the Falcons.
When Desert Pines has a good mix of Leon Hayes running and Trey Robello passing, the Jaguars are pretty good.
Foothill, even without a healthy Connor Afoa, is better. This one might not be close. Foothill by 16.
Palo Verde (9-0, 7-0) at Arbor View (9-0, 7-0)
Not too many people gave Arbor View a chance to even be in the hunt for a Northwest League title.
The Aggies, who brought only four starters back this year, are one win away, though it’s going to take the biggest win in the program’s history to get it done.
Expect Arbor View to come out strong, but Brandon Wright’s rushing and Palo Verde’s defense eventually will take the steam out of the Aggies.
Keep an eye out at this game for my creepy old uncle, who supposedly will be handing out hats as the Fielder clothing line continues to grow.
If you see him, point and laugh. That’s what we do at family reunions.
Keep your other eye out for the double wing; Palo Verde runs it well. Palo Verde by 10.
Durango (7-2, 6-1) at Bishop Gorman (8-2, 7-0)
Because of some really weird tiebreakers, Gorman needs to score only seven points to be the Southwest League’s top seed for the playoffs.
It doesn’t even matter if the Gaels win, and seven points shouldn’t be a problem.
Shaquille Powell hasn’t played much in weeks, and yet Gorman has outscored its Southwest opponents 394-6 this year, and that’s even with the Gaels taking it easy on some teams.
Since Gorman allowed a touchdown in the first quarter on Oct. 1, the Gaels have run off 276 straight points.
Good luck, Durango. Gorman by 28.
Del Sol (5-5) at Las Vegas (9-1)
The loss to Silverado last week put Del Sol in a tough spot, having to open the playoffs against a team which may be the pick to win the Sunrise Region.
The Dragons seem to find magic around this time of year, but they’ll need more than just a huge game from Chris Marshall to have a chance.
Las Vegas has averaged more than 54 points per game the last five weeks. Del Sol is a lot better than most of the Northeast League … but the Wildcats are really good. Las Vegas by 17.
Rancho (5-5) at Liberty (8-1)
As long as Liberty doesn’t think this is the mismatch everyone else thinks it, the Patriots will be fine.
Niko Kapeli gets a lot of carries, and that leads to a lot of Liberty points.
Staying close might be a tall task for the Rams. Liberty by 20.
Cheyenne (3-5, 2-5) at Legacy (4-5, 3-4)
It’s pretty simple for Legacy this week — win and go to Gorman for the playoffs next week.
If the Longhorns lose, they’re out.
Jordan Ireland and L.J. McMorris should be able to eat up some yards against a Cheyenne team that has no hope of qualifying for the postseason.
The Desert Shields could still play spoiler, though, and will make this close. Legacy by 4.
Clark (3-6, 3-4) at Spring Valley (5-4, 4-3)
The guys at confused me on this one, but we do know Spring Valley makes the playoffs with a win.
Apparently, Spring Valley also gets in if it loses by 10 or fewer points and Bonanza beats Sierra Vista.
But Clark can make the postseason by either winning by 11 or more — or just winning and having Bonanza lose.
Both of these teams can score in bunches.
I’m siding with Jordan Cox and the Grizzlies to take all the weird tiebreakers away. Spring Valley by 8.
Last week: 6-2 (overall), 5-3 (with points)
Season: 66-14 (overall), 53-27 (with points)

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