We’re back to prep football underneath the Friday night lights again.
After two weeks of Jewish holidays, it almost feels weird to be going to a game tonight.
League play has hit the halfway mark, and if I were acing — or even passing — my math class, I probably could eliminate a couple of teams from the playoffs right now.
What I do know, though, is that six teams are undefeated within their respective leagues. At least one of them will get a loss this week, too.
Let’s take a look at a couple of candidates.
Green Valley (5-1, 3-0 Southeast) at Liberty (5-1, 3-0)
The Gators and Patriots look like mirror images of each other, and it goes beyond records.
Both teams rely on a punishing ground game, with Green Valley’s Aaron Love and Liberty’s Niko Kapeli among the area’s top running backs.
Both also beat up other teams on defense and occasionally have been able to air it out at quarterback.
Kai Nacua was good last week as the Patriots’ capable aerial attacker, and Liberty might need him even more tonight.
Home-field advantage also is a nice edge for Liberty … Liberty by 3.
Desert Pines (2-4, 2-2 Northeast) at Rancho (2-4, 2-2)
It was only a matter of time before Desert Pines got rolling. Back-to-back wins can do that for anyone.
Leon Hayes did everything last week against Valley — running, receiving, intercepting a pass. He even was named homecoming king (only because I declined. Thanks, guys, but I don’t even go to Desert Pines.)
With Hayes producing behind his mammoth offensive line, the Jaguars should roll into the playoffs.
The hardest part of the regular season is behind them … Desert Pines by 10.
Arbor View (6-1, 5-1 Northwest) at Cimarron-Memorial (4-3, 3-3)
I was going to list every Aggie who has run the ball in this space, but the guys at Nevadapreps.com told me space is tight.
Instead, I’ll just say that Roderick Eason and Donnie Gaskin are the real deal. And the other 800 backs at Arbor View are good, too.
They aren’t undefeated, but the Aggies just about have punched their ticket to the playoffs.
This one should complete the deal … Arbor View by 7.
Pahrump Valley (1-5, 1-4 Southwest) at Clark (2-4, 2-4)
Just so you can’t say I care only about schools in Clark County, here’s some love for the guys across the Nye County line.
Pahrump’s already had a successful season, if only for not being winless in the Southwest again. It’ll be a good confidence booster for Division I-A — or whatever the NIAA is calling it — next year.
The Chargers’ Shane McLin is finding a groove, and it couldn’t come much later for his team.
Here’s some more momentum … Clark by 14.
Eldorado (2-4, 1-3) at Canyon Springs (4-2, 4-0)
The Pioneers started slow with a rough non-league slate, but Donnell Pumphrey has helped erase many of those nasty early memories.
The Sundevils finally got their first win last week against Sunrise Mountain, but they’ll need a little more if they want to start a streak.
The Nihipali brothers are a good start for Eldorado.
But they’ll have to bring the Sundevils out of a hole … Canyon Springs by 10.
Valley (2-4, 2-2) at Chaparral (1-5, 1-3)
Anthony Sanders had the Vikings believing when they opened Northeast play at 2-0.
Then reality hit.. in the form of Las Vegas and Canyon Springs.
Valley could find itself on the playoff bubble this year, and every win will matter if that’s the case.
Including this one … Valley by 14.
Silverado (2-4, 1-3 Southeast) at Foothill (5-1, 2-1)
It sure wasn’t pretty, but Savon Moniz and the Skyhawks finally dropped the “winless” tag in league play with a 7-0 victory at Coronado last week.
Now comes the hard part — keep winning.
The Falcons seem to have put their only loss of the season behind them after last week’s win over Del Sol.
Kyle Keplinger was back to … well, being Kyle Keplinger.
Drew Doxtator should help the Falcons slide by … Foothill by 5.
Virgin Valley (5-2, 1-0 3A Southern) at Moapa Valley (5-2, 0-0)
It’s the middle game of the 3A Southern League regular season (yes, the second of three), and there’s no bigger one than a rivalry game.
Yes, I get it. There aren’t many to compare.
The main benefit of this win is to determine the site of the playoff game.
Moapa Valley has shown it doesn’t care where it plays. The Pirates can hang with anyone, anywhere — including 4A schools.
Virgin Valley’s defense has been stout all year.
Until it meets Conner Mortensen … Moapa Valley by 10.
Last week: 8-0 (6-2 with points)
Season: 34-14 (26-21-1 with points)