Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011 | 2:05 a.m.
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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer are back with their weekly high school football podcast. This week's episode plays more like a variety show, as the two touch on a number of issues related to last week's gridiron action.
First, from critics’ perspective: They feel it was a bad decision considering the teams will likely meet again in next month’s Sunset Regional playoffs. Arbor View runs a complex double-wing offense that gave Gorman’s defense minor fits early last year when the teams played in Sunset semifinals, making the regular season game a dress rehearsal of sorts for a likely postseason rematch.
Along the same school of thought, you can easily argue a defeat against Gorman — which is ranked No. 5 by Rivals.com — would mentally defeat the Arbor View players for the playoff meeting.
But for Aggies’ coach Dan Barnson, there is no second-guessing his decision to take the game. He didn’t even have to think twice.
Barnson envisions his program becoming one of the state’s best and knows the benefits of sharing the field with Gorman for an evening outweigh any possible drawbacks.
“If we want to be the best we have to play the best. Gorman is the best and we know that,” Barnson said. “We are going to play them in the playoffs and we will (be ready to) play them two weeks after the playoffs.”
The game became available last Friday when Western High forfeited its final three games following a hazing incident that resulted in multiple player suspensions.
Western was scheduled to play Gorman Friday for the Gaels’ homecoming game. Arbor View had a bye this week.
“What is scary about them is they are coming right after us,” Gorman coach Tony Sanchez said last week. “That is the right approach. They are well coached and disciplined. We have a lot of respect for that program.”
Last year, Arbor View didn’t back down on its first drive of the game against Gorman, rushing for three first downs and staying close for most of the first quarter in gaining major confidence. That is especially true when you consider most of the Aggies’ key players last year were underclassmen.
Arbor View, an up-and-coming program in its seventh year of existence, is widely considered one of the Las Vegas Valley’s top five teams. And while they are considered an underdog against Gorman, the Arbor View players aren’t backing down.
“We are ready for them. We just have to practice hard and we will be good,” said Christian Rodriquez, Arbor View’s senior fullback. “Just because they are Gorman doesn’t mean they are special. We’ll treat them just like any team and get ready to pound the ball down their throat.”
Arbor View (7-1, 6-1 Northwest) has been defeated only once this year in outscoring opponents, 304-119. The one loss came against perennial power Palo Verde, which gives the Aggies a 0-8 all-time record in games against Gorman and Palo Verde — the consensus top teams in Nevada.
The players, however, don’t have the mentality of being the underdog. Barnson’s mantra of not being afraid to play any team has become contagious with his players.
The coach informed his team following last week’s game at Cimarron-Memorial they scheduled the game with Gorman. His message was simple: “We are going there to win. If you don’t believe, don’t show up,” he told them.
The message was received loud and clear.
“They are beatable. We have to go out and do our thing and be a more physical team than them,” said running back and defensive back Roderick Eason, one of Arbor View’s top players.
It’s obviously a great situation for Gorman. In addition to finding an opponent for their homecoming game, the Gaels will finally line up against a quality opponent. They have outscored local competition 368-13 in six games, typically playing reserves the entire second half.
Now, the starters will be tested deeper into the game in a tune-up for the playoffs. More importantly, those reps will be against stopping the double-wing offense — the offense also ran by Palo Verde, who Gorman would also have to beat in the playoffs to capture a third straight state championship.
Well, that’s if they can get past Arbor View.
“People can say what they want,” Rodriquez said of the underdog label. “We’ll have to go out and prove them wrong.”