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November 25, 2015

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Ray Brewer: From the Pressbox

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Gorman football ranked No. 7 by Rivals, wrongly classified as ‘best team in a bad state’

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Counting down to football, basketball recruiting on our minds

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Las Vegas Sun reporters Case Keefer and Ray Brewer talk high school basketball recruiting and look ahead to the upcoming football season during Sports Talk, their weekly radio show at 5:30 p.m. Monday on 91.5 KUNV.

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Two-time defending state high school football champion Bishop Gorman was ranked No. 7 today by in the respected recruiting-based website’s top 100 rankings.

Although the high mark comes as no surprise for the powerhouse program, it included a backhanded slap for the rest of the Las Vegas Valley’s teams that surely won’t sit well with Gaels’ foes. “Perception says Bishop Gorman is the best team in a bad state,” wrote Dallas Jackson, the senior analyst for RivalsHigh, in the site’s story on Gorman.

Several Southern Nevadans have a different opinion.

Take one look at Gorman’s Southwest Division — with struggling programs such as Bonanza, Clark, Pahrump Valley, Sierra Vista and Western — and it’s easy to realize why Southern Nevada was classified as having weak high school football. You’d be crazy to argue otherwise when breaking down the large-school classification’s weakest division, where Gorman’s freshman team would likely win by lopsided scores playing a varsity schedule.

But the teams Gorman will line up against in the playoffs, specifically neighborhood rival Palo Verde, are anything but weak. Palo Verde has lost only one regular season game in the past four years, and if it weren’t for Gorman’s dynasty, would have likely captured the past two state titles. Palo Verde, which gives Gorman all it can handle each year, should also be a top 100 team. There is no question the school has one of the nation’s best programs.

Locals should be proud Gorman is receiving this national respect. It brings attention to the area and its good football programs — each year more than 10 players receive scholarships from major Division I universities, and many of them are not from Gorman.

Las Vegas High, Liberty, Silverado and Del Sol have programs that are respectable year in and year out. They have rosters of talented players, though not the depth to battle Gorman for a full four quarters. Still, these programs combine with Gorman to make the area a can’t-miss for college football coaches on the recruiting trail.

Non-Gorman players currently have scholarship offers from schools such as Vanderbilt, Colorado and UTEP. Non-Gorman players are in NFL camps with the Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers. A Valley High grad played in last year’s Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

There is no doubt Gorman is the face of Las Vegas high school football. And, there is no debate, the team is loaded with talented players.

The Gaels will play two games of national interest within six days of each other to open the season — Aug. 20 against Chaparral High of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Aug. 26 at home against Armwood High of the Tampa, Fla., area.

When the Gaels take the field with a national audience watching, they won’t just be playing for themselves. They will be representing Nevada — a responsibility several players have proudly embraced.

After all, Gorman’s quest for national prominence indirectly relies on the local opponents it faces. The more respect other schools receive, the more impressive Gorman’s instate dominance.

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