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High school races clear up after top teams assert dominance

In college football, it’s called Separation Saturday when the top teams play each other and shape the playoff race.

There is no so much moniker at the high school level, but whatever you want to call what happened Friday night, the Southern Nevada races have become quite clear.

Emphatically so.

— Class 5A No. 1 Bishop Gorman beat No. 2 Arbor View 63-0.

— Class 5A No. 3 Liberty beat No. 5 Faith Lutheran 41-6.

— Class 4A No. 1 Silverado beat Chaparral 65-0.

— Class 4A No. 2 Shadow Ridge beat Sierra Vista 53-7.

— Class 3A No. 1 Moapa Valley beat Rancho 45-7.

In 5A, there was little question Gorman was the team to beat, but previously undefeated Arbor View figured to provide a test. After this performance, it’s clear only Liberty has a legitimate shot at giving Gorman a competitive game.

Gorman coach Brent Browner said his team kept the same focus it had during a demanding non-league schedule, designed to put the Gaels in Allegiant Stadium for the state championship.

“That’s a big prize,” Browner said. “That means something and more than anything to every kid that’s ever got to do it. They had a great time last year. That prize is what they’re looking forward to more than anything.”

Liberty also played a tough non-league schedule, and the Patriots faced questions after going 2-3. Faith Lutheran, which was undefeated, was a measuring stick.

“We struggled, for sure, in some of our out-of-state games, but I tell our kids all the time, record doesn’t matter,” Liberty coach Rich Muraco said. “We play tough teams for a reason. We want to see where our deficiencies are. We want to see how kids respond to adversity. And now we’re playing Nevada teams, and hopefully it’ll pay off.”

After Friday, it’s difficult not to envision a Gorman-Liberty showdown for the right to play at Allegiant. As Patriots wide receiver Jayden Robertson said after the game, “We’re just trying to get prepared for Gorman.”

Class 4A could be a similar collision course between Silverado and Shadow Ridge. The Skyhawks have established themselves as the standard, but Shadow Ridge also is playing at a high level.

Shadow Ridge coach Travis Foster noted his team still had to get by Coronado in the Sky League. Coronado won last season’s meeting 25-21, but the Mustangs still advanced to the state title game before losing 61-27 to Silverado.

“We’ve got to handle our business, not turn the ball over, make teams march on us, not give up the big play,” Foster said. “You know all the coach-speak.”

Gators make a statement

Basic coach Jeff Cahill warned last week not to make too much of his team’s 5-0 record and Green’s Valley’s 0-4 mark. The record to pay attention to was Green Valley’s 4-0 record in the previous four meetings.

Make that 5-0 after Green Valley’s 24-10 victory Friday night.

First-year Gators coach Clay Mauro said his team’s tough non-league schedule wasn’t about putting together a shiny record, but preparing for what he called the “Murderers’ Row” of 5A.

Gorman and Liberty likely aren’t overly concerned about Green Valley yet, but a message was at least sent to 4A Basic, the Gators’ biggest rival.

“Nothing against Basic,” Mauro said, “but I like us every series.”

Coming up

Basic can’t wallow in its loss, with a key Mountain League game at Las Vegas on Thursday. Las Vegas (4-1) comes off a 55-20 victory over Clark and has easily won four games in a row.

Green Valley will show how much its non-league schedule and victory over Basic mean when it hosts Desert Pines (4-1) on Friday. The Jaguars have won their past four games by a combined 161-14.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.

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