Here are the top games to watch for Week 6 of the high school football schedule (Sept. 21):
Liberty at Desert Pines, 7 p.m.
Perhaps there is not a better nonleague game in town than this one. Liberty has all the credentials: eight straight region titles, two of the last three state runner-up finishes, and a 35-game winning streak against local teams not named Bishop Gorman. The Patriots did graduate five players that were either on the All-State first or second teams, but also beat Desert Pines 41-14 two years ago.
But the Jaguars have as much high-end talent as anyone. Their defensive line may be the best of the state, and running back Cameron Wiley, though he has not played for Desert Pines after transferring from Silverado, has committed to Minnesota. This game will test the Jaguars’ depth, and prove if they deserve to be mentioned among the state’s elite teams.
Shadow Ridge at Palo Verde, 7 p.m.
The last two seasons, Shadow Ridge has lost to Palo Verde and missed the playoffs by one game. Palo Verde claimed the last spot both times, despite having a worse overall record than Shadow Ridge. So needless to say, the Mustangs will be ready. They graduate the heart of their offense in Aubrey Nellems, but return a quarterback that rushed for 846 yards and a team-high 13 touchdowns in Kody Presser, even if he only attempted 44 passes all year.
The Panthers are 11-19 over the last three years, but have managed to keep a playoff streak alive that dates back to 2000. Mike Torres and Isaiah Scott are the only returning players who scored a touchdown last year, and they had one apiece. This may be the year Palo Verde’s playoff streak is in the most jeopardy, but that’s been said plenty of times before.
Pahrump Valley at Democracy Prep, 7 p.m.
This will be the Blue Knights’ first league game as a Class 3A team, and the first test of the new world they find themselves. They have amassed a record of 6-10 the last two years, but now take on even stronger competition.
Pahrump Valley has reached the playoffs two years in a row, but was bumped in the first round both times. Road games in the valley are never a sure thing for the Trojans’ after the long drive, but will look to get a leg up on the race for the Sunset League’s postseason berths.