Photo Credit: Jenni Webber/Franchise Sports Media

FSM Preview – Las Vegas High School Football – 2023 Finals Preview

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The NIAA football championship games take place on Tuesday at Allegiant Stadium. We preview all 4 of them.

It’s time for the Las Vegas High School Football 2023 championship games!

Las Vegas High School Football | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

The end of the Las Vegas high school football season is upon us. As usual, it seems that this season has just flown by. It wasn’t that long ago we were excited to kick off the season, and now it is the conclusion of it.

We started the season with plenty of storylines off the field.

It all started at the conclusion of last year‘s championship games. The NIAA announced that they would realign the divisions to make it more competitive for all the teams involved. 

The controversy started with the 5A/D1 not having any teams from Northern Nevada in the division. The league also only has seven teams in it. According to its bylaws, each division is supposed to have nine teams, but the NIAA approved this model for this season in hopes of making it more competitive for everyone.

The big domino waiting to fall was whether the NIAA and CCSD allow a one-time transfer waiver for athletes. It didn’t pass, and once again, countless athletes were waiting for approval to play, even as late as mid to late October.

In both cases, coaches were not happy with the outcome. Many coaches were unhappy with teams from Northern Nevada not playing the teams in the top division. They continued to be frustrated with the delays in approving or denying players who transferred into their schools.

Nonetheless, the season was another exciting one filled with surprises and drama on the field. 

On Tuesday, at Allegiant Stadium, the NIAA will host the 2A, 4A, 5A/D2, and 5A/D1 championship games. Let’s take a look at the matchups.

It’s playoff time for Las Vegas High School Football.

The NIAA 2A Division State Title Game 

The FSM Prep Rally Game of the Week is Lake Mead vs Perishing County at Allegiant Stadium

Las Vegas High School Football | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Anthony Corbray/Franchise Sports Media

The first of the four championship games that are being played will kick off at 9 a.m. Lake Mead Christian Academy will take on Perishing County for the 2A title.

How great of a story is Lake Mead Christian Academy? 

The Eagles‘ coaching staff are former UNLV Football players, led by their head coach, Nate Oishi. The former Rebels offensive lineman took over the program just three years ago and, with the help of his friends and former teammates, has turned Lake Mead into a power at the 2A level.

This season, the Eagles outscored their opponents 512–71 and finished with a 9–1 record, 4–0 in their league. 

The Eagles are led by their freshman QB Jerry Meyer III, who has thrown for 52 touchdown passes on the season. He has a trio of wide receivers, each having over ten touchdown receptions. The explosive Eagles offense gets all the credit, but their defense is stout and tough.

Can the Eagles finish off their Cinderella story against a tough Pershing Country team?

Who will win between Pershing County and Lake Mead Christian Academy? 

The NIAA 5A/D2 Division State Title Game 

The FSM Prep Rally Game of the Week is Bishop Manogue vs Faith Lutheran at Allegiant Stadium

Las Vegas High School Football | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

In the next game, the 5A/D2 title game is scheduled to kick off at 12:20. In this game, Faith Lutheran will take on Bishop Manogue.  

Bishop Manogue is one of the teams that went down to division when the realignment took place. Last season, they lost to Bishop Gorman in the 5A state title game at Reno High School.

Former UNLV head coach Mike Sanford leads the Crusaders. Coach Sanford led the Crusaders to a 9–3 record, 5–1 in their league. They defeated Green Valley for the right to play in the 5A/D2 championship game.

Faith Lutheran is a well-balanced team, being able to score on the ground or through the air. Cale Breslin averaged 106.5 yards per game this season on the ground to go along with his ten touchdowns. 

The Crusaders have a two-headed monster at quarterback with Alex Rogers and Gary Odom. Nick Duffy and Cole Keith lead the way on the defensive side of the ball, both averaging over ten tackles per game. Lastly, Clayton McCarroll leads Faith Lutheran with eight sacks on the season.

Will the power from Northern Nevada get the elusive title they missed out on taking on the southern powers, or will Faith Lutheran put a cap on their outstanding season?

Who will win between Bishop Manogue and Faith Lutheran

The NIAA 4A Division State Title Game 

The FSM Prep Rally Game of the Week is Sunrise Mountain vs Centennial at Allegiant Stadium

Las Vegas High School Football | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Jenni Webber/Franchise Sports Media

In the 4A title game, Centennial takes on Sunrise Mountain in a battle between two Southern Nevada programs. The kickoff is slated for 3:40 p.m. 

The Bulldogs were 1-18 the previous two seasons. Enter a new head coach, DJ Campbell, who has led a remarkable turnaround for Centennial. 

Not only has he restored the Bulldogs to their winning ways, but he led them to a 10-1 record, 6–0 in the Desert Division, and scored their opponents 411–177. He also changed the culture and got the players to buy into his vision.

The Bulldogs are led by their quarterback, Vic Plotnikov, who threw for 38 touchdown passes this season. He also completed over 60% of his passes and had a QB rating of 122.7

Running back Ty Hanley has eight rushing touchdowns on the ground, 11 in totality to go along with his seven interceptions. Dale Flores Jr. leads Centennial with seven touchdown receptions; Mason Garza has six.

Saione Inoke averaged nearly nine tackles per game, while Ali Kamara the Bulldogs with 6 1/2 sacks on the year.

Sunrise Mountain also finished 9–1 and 6–0 in the Mountain Division of the 4A level. The Minors are led by their head coach, Chris Sawyers.

On the year, Sunrise Mountain outscored their opponents 281–148. Auhsoj Cunningham averaged 135.7 yards per game and scored 14 touchdowns on the year. Quarterback Christin Thompson threw for 10 TD passes on the season.

Kendric Rice averaged nearly seven tackles per game, while Lavelle Smith had six sacks on the year. Thomas Marcellino had four interceptions on the year.

Can Sunrise Mountain upset the Bulldogs, or will Centennial beat the Minors to give Coach Campbell his first state title in his first year as a head coach?

Who will win between Sunrise Mountain and Centennial?

The NIAA 5A/D1 Division State Title Game 

The FSM Prep Rally Game of the Week is Liberty vs Bishop Gorman at Allegiant Stadium

Las Vegas High School Football | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Alon Sowell/Franchise Sports Media

The final game of the night has a 7 PM kickoff. It is not only for the 5A/D1 state championship; it also could be for a high school national championship. Liberty takes on the #1 ranked team in the country, Bishop Gorman.

Liberty enters the game 10–2, 5–1 on the year. They’ve outscored their opponents 343–201 and have won 7 straight games entering the state championship. 

Head Coach Rich Muraco, who won a 5A state title in 2019, is looking to pull off one of the biggest upsets in high school football history. His Patriots lost to the Gaels in a Week 5 matchup, 49–6. That was the last loss for Liberty as they’ve reeled off seven straight wins. 

Liberty is led by one of the best athletes in the state, Jayden Robertson. The talented wide receiver averaged 88.4 yards through the air, scored 13 total touchdowns, and also returned kicks and punts. 

Running back Isaiah Lauofo averaged 83 yards per game on the ground, scored 13 touchdowns, and can get the tough yard or breakaway for a long run. Quarterback Tyrese Smith averaged 38 yards per game on the ground, but also for 21 touchdowns and rushed for six.

Defensively, the Patriots are led by a trio of UNLV Football commits. 

Jae Beasley, who plays linebacker as well as tight end, averages over four tackles per game and is the emotional and vocal leader of Liberty. His fellow linebacker & UNLV commit, Koi Pa’Ao’Ao, also averaged over four tackles per game. 

Andre Porter, another UNLV Commit, averaged 23 yards per game as a tight end through the air and had 27 tackles on the season.

 

Las Vegas High School Football | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Alon Sowell/Franchise Sports Media

As for Bishop Gorman, Brent Browner has led the reemergence of the program to a national power. This season, they went 11–0, 6–0 in their division and outscored their opponents 540–1 74

They entered the season as the #2 ranked team in the country and went undefeated. They had one of the most demanding non-league schedules in the country—all 4 of the teams they faced finished in the top 35 rankings nationally.

The reigning National Gatorade Player of The Year, Micah Alejado, leads the nation’s best offense. On the year, he threw 32 touchdown passes and no interceptions. He completed 77% of his passes with a QBR of 157.9. Alejado also threw for 2,459 yards.

The nation’s top tight end, Miami commit Elija Lofton, caught for 460 yards on 25 receptions and eight touchdowns through the air. He also has eight touchdowns rushing on the season. Senior wide receiver Audy Harris caught for 1023 yards and 12 touchdowns on 48 receptions.

On the ground, Micah Ka’Apana let the team in rushing with 728 yards and nine touchdowns. But his partner in the backfield, Devon Rice, ran for 538 yards and a team-leading ten touchdowns. 

Defensively, Prince William averaged 8 1/2 tackles per game, to go along with seven sacks on the year. Freshman linebacker Tamatoa Gaoteote was right behind him with 7.5 tackles per game. UNLV commit linebacker Charles Correa averages seven tackles per game as well.

Jett Washington and Hayden Stepp led the Gales with two interceptions on the year each for a young, talented Bishop Gorman secondary.

Liberty is looking to pull off one of the biggest upsets in high school football history. If they win, not only would they ruin Bishop Gorman’s dream of a national championship, but they would win their second Nevada State football championship in school history.

If Bishop Borman wins this game, they will win the high school national championship. They are ranked first in the Maxpreps, ESPN, and USA TODAY polls. It would be their fourth high school national title in school history.

Go to Franchise Sports Media for all your Las Vegas high school football action!

Franchise Sports Media has your 702 High School Football season covered. Please make sure you tune into The FSM Prep Rally with Joe and Big Antt all season for your Las Vegas High School Football coverage and interact with us on all our social media platforms and in the comments section. 

 

– Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Joe on all social media: @JoeArrigoFSM

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