Hey, it’s Eric here.
I’m filling in for Fielder this week. The poor kid’s been sick since Monday. I told him not to eat all that Halloween candy, but he said he needed to gain weight so he can play left tackle in college.
Yeah. More like left out.
This shouldn’t be as hard as Fielder makes it out to be every week. Two teams walk onto a football field (is this a bad joke?), and one wins. Pick the right one, Einstein.
The stakes are pretty high, though. The losing team here has its season end.
Everybody’s 0-0 now (except for Fielder), and there are 16 teams from the South with a shot at winning a Class 4A state championship. Well, kind of. More like one, actually.
Let’s start picking them off. For full prognostications, go to Nevadapreps.com. It’s the same place you’ve been looking for Fielder all year.
Desert Pines (4-5) at Foothill (7-2) — Try as they might, the Jaguars just couldn’t be kept out of the playoffs this year.
Sure, they needed a little bit of help from Eldorado to clinch. But don’t hold that against anyone.
Fielder keeps telling me all sorts of good things about the Jaguars’ offensive line. I still haven’t seen it.
No literally; every time I go to look, I can’t see around some human-brick wall on the football field to glimpse the O-line.
Kyle Keplinger helped the Falcons wrap up a playoff berth long ago. And Foothill was a Kai Nacua interception of Drew Doxtator away from knocking off Liberty for the Southeast title.
There’s a slight difference between the Patriots and the Jaguars.
It will show Friday in the Falcons’ defense … Foothill by 8.
Basic (5-4) at Canyon Springs (7-2) — Fields tried to tell me to go to Canyon Springs last week just in case the Pioneers upset Las Vegas.
I didn’t believe him. Instead, I stayed home watching reruns of “Two and a Half Men,” wondering why TV games can’t start at 7 p.m.
Imagine my surprise when I logged onto nevadapreps.com that night and found out Donnell Pumphrey went Beast Mode on the Wildcats defense.
The important thing about that win for Canyon Springs is that it changed this week’s opponent from Green Valley to Basic.
And it means staying away from Liberty in the second round. Yes, second round… Canyon Springs by 10.
Bonanza (7-2) at Arbor View (8-2) — Don’t think I haven’t been watching you, Bengals.
We’ve got to give it up to Bonanza for the turnaround since last year. Sure, the Bengals still give up 50 points some games, but at least they score 60, too.
But the Aggies are a different breed than what Jayveon Taylor and Carlos Soto have seen.
In case you didn’t know, Arbor View likes to run the ball. A lot. It’s not just Roderick Eason or Donnie Gaskin, either.
But even that might be enough … Arbor View by 10.
Centennial (6-3) at Desert Oasis (7-2) — For the second straight year, the Diamondbacks finished second in the Southwest.
Not bad for a relatively new school.
Desert Oasis has found its identity, and it has a picture of Devin Fortenberry on it.
Centennial also has an identity: run hard with Jacobi Owens, and play big defense.
It’s served the Bulldogs well. And will continue to do so … Centennial by 4.
Valley (4-5) at Liberty (8-1) — Props to the Vikings for making the playoffs. After starting the season 0-2, Anthony Sanders found a way to get it done.
The Patriots present another challenge. Kai Nacua and Niko Kapeli have been good on both sides of the ball, and the only way to take down their offensive line may be to put something in the food at The M buffet.
Kapeli could have a big game here … Liberty by 15.
Green Valley (5-4) at Las Vegas (8-1) — The Gators have backpedaled into the playoffs on a three-game losing streak, but the Wildcats aren’t exactly taking loads of momentum into the postseason, either.
The key to this game will be which team can forget about the past more quickly.
Hasaan Henderson carried his team well in a shocking loss to Canyon Springs, but the Pioneers kept backfield mate Farrell Victor out of it.
This one could come down to a matchup between Victor and Green Valley star Aaron Love.
In other words, there will be lots of running. But Love might get lost … Las Vegas by 13.
Cheyenne (6-3) at Bishop Gorman (11-1) — The Desert Shields were two points away from a first-round matchup with Desert Oasis, but Centennial stole it from them on the final week of the season.
Myloe Lewis has Cheyenne ready for a run in its return the postseason.
Unfortunately, the Gaels running back opposite him is named Shaquille Powell; you might have heard of him.
For those who haven’t: the Shaq Attack is back … Gorman by 21.
Durango (5-4) at Palo Verde (9-0) — The only undefeated Class 4A team in Southern Nevada gets the resilient Trailblazers in the first round.
Sophomore quarterback Parker Rost has had a full season as a starter to prepare for this, and the Panthers have been dreaming of a Sunset final matchup with Gorman.
Durango has had one game in the final three weeks of the season, which hardly seems like enough time for Arie McQuaig to stretch his legs.
One step closer for the Panthers … Palo Verde by 18.
Last week: 6-2, 5-3 (with points)
Season: 54-18, 39-31-2 (with points)