By W.G. Ramirez
There is something about the rivalry between Arbor View and Centennial High Schools.
It’s healthy, and at times – it ain’t good.
It’s on the same level of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens. The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.
They truly don’t like one another. There is no love loss, and there’s barely any respect. If there is, it lasts for about 49 seconds, or however long it takes for the teams to walk by one another and shake each other’s hands. Other than that, it’s a heated rivalry. And if there is respect, it’s toward ‘it’ being okay to not like one another, unlike all secondary dislikes toward other schools, where they’re friendly rivalries.
So when the two meet tonight at Centennial, both undefeated at 8-0, for the Northwest Division title, it might be the biggest game of the schools’ annual series, and most certainly should be considered the Game of the Year in Southern Nevada prep football.
Those in sport of Palo Verde and Bishop Gorman might argue otherwise. But uhm, yeah…
Quick disclaimer: I have personal ties to both schools. My son graduated from Arbor View, and obviously many of his friends still go there. But I also know a host of kids and staff at Centennial, including a teacher and member of administration for more than 15 years.
So how do I pick a winner here? Or do I?
Just as I did earlier this season, when Gorman met St. John Bosco, I ran each team’s numbers through a spreadsheet program that I use during the NFL and college football seasons to see predicted outcomes for particular games. I came up with four final scores.
Based on the season, Centennial is poised to win this game, 28-25. After all, the Bulldogs have stymied their opponents, so after factoring in what Arbor View’s defense has given up yards and point wise, it’s not surprising Centennial was picked to win. If we were to base this on the teams’ last four games, the Bulldogs win handedly, 36-24. Considering how the teams perform at home and on the road, go figure, Arbor View is supposed to win this one by a healthy 27-20.
Add up all the finals on my spreadsheet, and you have a composite prediction of Centennial 27.9, Arbor View 26.4. In Vegas’ terms, that’s a point spread of Centennial -1.5.
So, what do I think will actually happen? I honestly couldn’t tell you, like I correctly did with Gorman, saying it would beat Bosco, 35-31, and then watching the Gaels win, 34-31. I saw every single game the Gaels played leading up to that point. With Arbor and Centennial, I’ve seen the Aggies once, and Bulldogs twice. That’s three times out of 16 games.
I can tell you this much, if Arbor plans on going over there with the same ol’ double-wing, and coach Dan Barnson doesn’t have any tricks up his sleeve, the Aggies are in trouble against Centennial’s staunch defense. The Bulldogs plug holes, they hit hard and they’re athletic all-around. Nevertheless, if the Aggies can establish their running game early, behind Herman Gray, it’ll be a shootout and it’ll be Arbor’s game to lose.
Centennial is awfully talented on offense, led by quarterback Juan Rodriguez, who can run and pass. He makes smart decisions and isn’t afraid to get hit. If gets the Bulldogs in front early, Arbor may not be able to catch up simply because of homefield momentum.
I don’t foresee a blowout, and think this one could go back and forth. I’d be shocked to see a double-digit lead, and wouldn’t be surprised one bit if this comes down to the last team holding the ball.
Arbor is a dangerous team – end of story. This might be coach Leon Evans’ best Centennial team – end of story.
My biggest problem here, I have been assigned the Cheyenne-Desert Pines game, so that’s my focus. And that’s the TV game, unfortunately, so I can’t even DVR the Aggies and Bulldogs clash.
So which is the last team holding the ball?
Let’s put it this way, following the back-and-forth affair and time draining, Centennial could be up by that predicted final — 27-26 — while Arbor will be driving in an attempt to win it as time expires.
In a perfect world, it’d be 27-27, and a deadlock would be acceptable, given all those ties of mine. But, I’ll ride out what I see as being that close, and find out later if the Aggies could pull it out.