Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012 | 2:05 a.m.
The Bishop Gorman High football team’s schedule for 2012 is starting to take shape, including a road game over Labor Day weekend in Hawaii against Honolulu power St. Louis High.
The three-time defending state champion Gaels, who last fall finished ranked nationally in the top 10, tentatively have four games scheduled against high-caliber national opponents and could play a fifth out-of-state foe if again invited to the mid-August Sollenberger Classic in Arizona.
Gorman’s home opener is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 24 against Our Lady of Good Counsel from Olney, Md. Our Lady of Good Counsel was ranked No. 6 by USA Today in its final 2011 poll, one spot behind No. 5 Gorman.
On Sept. 14, the Gaels will host Bergen Catholic High of New Jersey, which is one of the state’s top teams and a top-50 national opponent.
The following week, Gorman will play at perennial national power Servite High of Anaheim, Calif., at Cerritos College.
Gorman coach Tony Sanchez announced the schedule Sunday at the team’s end-of-the-year banquet. Needless to say, the players were pretty excited.
“Their reaction was no bigger than the reaction for the other (games),” Sanchez said of the Hawaii trip. “They are fired up about playing great football teams. The kids expect us to find teams to push them to be ready to defend the state title.”
It’s the same scheduling formula Gorman has used the past two years. They finished with a 16-1 record last fall, beating Chaparral High of Scottsdale, Ariz. , and Servite on a last-second field goal, but they narrowly lost at home against Armwood of Florida.
Traveling to Hawaii, or even into Southern California, is no easy task for a high school team. But for Gorman, it’s become the norm — the Gaels have played six games outside Southern Nevada the past three years.
“The kids know what is expected of them,” Sanchez said. “Win, lose or draw, it won’t be because of a lack of preparation.”
Gorman played three times last year on national television, including both home games against national competition televised by ESPN. Sanchez said television deals for the 2012 slate are being finalized.
Teams for the 2012 Sollenberger Classic, which typically pits the defending Arizona and Nevada state champions, have yet to be announced. Gorman, which has played the past two years, would go up against Desert Vista High of Phoenix on Aug. 18 if the Classic keeps its same format. Desert Vista was ranked No. 11 by USA Today.
Gorman isn’t the lone local school with a marquee national game. Liberty High, which lost to Gorman in the state semifinals, will travel to Southern California over Labor Day weekend to play in a four-team event hosted by Servite, Patriots coach Rich Muraco said. The Patriots’ opponent will be determined later this week.