It's Down To The Final 4 - Football Playoffs

We are down to the Final 4 teams in the 4 A Football Playoffs. I am old school, I like when we get a chance to see teams from other regions face off against one another. Yet in the screwy Nevada playoffs the best we can do is see a team play each other from across town. Manogue takes on McQueen and Las Vegas takes on Palo Verde. So when so many other States are playing true playoffs we get this?

Lets talk a little bit about the State Titles that have been given out so far. For readers of this site, you know that I love Frank Desantis. I took on some mighty challenges when he decided to take the Eldorado job. It did not work out the way we all would have thought. Eldo is a far cry from the support that he had at the Meadows, where kids grow up wanting to play for the Mustang program. The Eldo kids have not had the fire since Steven Jackson left for Oregon State. Kids in that area dream of playing for Las Vegas. The other kids in Summerlin now dream of playing for Palo Verde.

So Frank comes back home to the Meadows. He does what so many Coaches can not seem to do, he fits his offense around what the talent on his squad can handle. He went from 2 back pro style to spread during the middle of the season. It is safe to say that 95% of our 4 A Coaches do not go away from their offensive sets that they have in their minds going into training camp once they enter the season. Is it that Meadows has student athletes that can grasp a new offense quicker than 4 A kids? I dont think that is the issue. Good teams understand how to get their scout teams to mimick offensive sets of their opponents. So why cant they change an offense that does not fit their talent?

Meadows did and once again they are State Champions. In a week where Ron Smeltzer and Cliff Frazier are given pats on the back for their service Coaching High School Football in Nevada. Someone needs to get a plaque over to Frank Desantis - not after he is done - but to give it to him now. Congrats to the Mustangs.

Pahranagat (or Alamo as they say in the North) also should be given credit for their creativity during the playoffs. They realized that they could not stop an opponent, so they decided to gamble on the onside kick formula and it worked. Sure you can say that they ran up the score on their opponent. But, when you have a Higbee coaching against you - they are mainly about winning no matter how unconventional. Well, it worked and they captured the 1 A State title in route.

When you talk about dreaming about playing for a high school, the kids from Overton have the same mojo. Moapa Valley oozes school spirit. Committed about winning and willing to play any opponent to get ready in any sport, the Pirates captured the 3 A State Football Championship this past weekend.

So as it stands right now - South has won 3 titles and the North has been shutout. So how do we even the score, lets guarantee that the North gets a slot in the State Football Championship. It is not like McQueen is not a solid favorite to win the 4 A title. But, this weekend they just need to go across town and beat Manogue to capture a spot in the 4 A title game which will be played up North. Sure, with the Nevada Wolfpack not concerned about sending a team to a bowl game at 6-6 this year (the only one in the country stating how they would decline a bid)the field is open to someone who wants to play ball. Having two teams from the South come up there would be a nightmare. Sure South fans probably would not travel and of course Nevada Coaches would not show up to scout the talent either, so on both cases the game would be a dud at the box office.

With so many teams being added in the South, when are we going to level the playing field? Does the CCSD need to produce another Conference to make this happen? Certainly, in regards to the basketball playoffs at State the joke when the games are played in the North is the fact that a conference gets two automatic bids each year. How can anyone say that the South would not deserve 3 spots each year with so many of the schools in the 4 A playing in the South? They dont exactly hesitate to make this happen in the 3 A, as the North gets the majority of the playoff slots.

McQueen is solid. They have shown few cracks in the armor this year. This team grew up together taking it's lumps as Sophomores. As Juniors this team made it to the State title game against Gorman. After seeing what Keola Antolin has done as a Freshman at Arizona this year, no one can not say that Gorman had the edge in talent. Now it is McQueen's turn to take the title as they have paid their dues. McQueen will roll this weekend in professional fashion as usual and will await the winner from the South next weekend.

Gorman's weakness against the run in the Cheyenne game provided Palo with game film on how to attack the Gaels. They certainly did the job and then some. Las Vegas has been the quiet team this year in the South. The Sunrise has not been loaded with power teams this year and it has been another down year in the NE Division. Las Vegas imported some talent in Lopez and Bullock. Yet, I dont see Reggie getting it done against Harris and his bunch at Palo. When we talk about Vegas, we know that they have shown that they can be beaten through the air. At the same time, with the spread offense we have seen that Palo has not faced many teams that pose an offensive dual threat that the Cats provide. The Cat defense just has not been as stingy as usual Cat teams in the past.They have talent up front and in the LB corp. But, when you talk about scout teams prepping their first team your opponents offense - how do teams run Palo's looks with their speed? It has to be a tough task for 3rd and 4 th teamers to provide a look that will provide Vegas the confidence that they can handle what Palo brings to the table. LV has to force Palo to throw. Yet, this is a weakness of the Cat offense. Can Vegas put up the points needed to make this a shoot out? I dont think that they can. Rost and Faircloth are solid Coaches and deserve all of the kudos that they receive. So get their plaques ready too. Palo will win and move on this week.

I am just rooting that in the next 2 years, the South develops a 3 rd conference so we can have a real playoff battle. Teams should have to win their conference and face off a team from the North and not be gifted into a position where they just have to travel across town to get into a State title game. I know that our State's budget is super bad right now, but this thinking was done prior to the State's tax structure imploding. So lets prepare for better times now, so we dont have to have this excuse in the future!


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