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December 21, 2014

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high school football:

Gorman not satisfied with moral victory of respectable performance against nation’s top team

Gaels head into league play next week with a 4-2 mark against out-of-state competition, prepared to defend state championship

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Bishop Gorman halfback Russell Booze is congratulated after his touchdown against Booker T. Washington High of Miami during their game Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 at Bishop Gorman. The No. 1 ranked Washington won the game 28-12.

Bishop Gorman vs. Booker T. Washington

Bishop Gorman tight end Alize Jones has his pass intercepted by Booker T. Washington High of Miami cornerback James Darby in the fourth quarter of their game Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 at Bishop Gorman. The No. 1 ranked Washington won the game 28-12. Launch slideshow »
Prep Sports Now

Tornadoes and tirades

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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer open this week's show by discussing the top-ranked high school football team in the nation, Florida's Booker T. Washington, coming to town Friday to take on Bishop Gorman. They then work their way into other pertinent topics, highlighted by a discussion of the definition of "athlete" and whether Green Valley can match Canyon Springs' "quickness".

Toward the end of the third quarter Friday, after the Bishop Gorman High football team’s defense forced visiting Booker T. Washington High to punt for a third straight possession, players from the Miami school showed their frustration on the sideline.

There was yelling and pointing fingers — all thanks to Gorman, a team Washington was supposed to easily handle.

Washington is ranked No. 1 nationally and had averaged 42.4 points per game in five contests entering Friday. But it was almost the end of the third quarter and they had only scored 14, barely holding a two-point lead.

While Washington would close the game with 14 unanswered points for a 28-12 victory, the final margin was much closer than the score indicated. Gorman, ranked No. 18 by Rivals.com, gave the national power everything it could handle and more.

Just don’t expect the Gaels to take comfort in the moral victory of a quality performance.

“I’m proud of our kids. We played them tough,” Gorman coach Tony Sanchez said. “It’s not a moral victory, though. We are past that in this program. This is a game we fully expected to win and we thought we had an opportunity to do that.”

Gorman struggled offensively most of the night, but still had a chance to win in the second half.

Randall Cunningham II connected with Alize Jones on a 6-yard scoring strike with 6:21 to play in the third quarter to trim the Gaels deficit to 14-12, or two missed point-after-touchdown attempts.

But Gorman never seriously threatened again — a pair of second-half interceptions from Cunningham didn't help. Despite the defense keeping them in the game, the Gaels weren’t able to capitalize in the ESPNU televised contest. Washington scored two touchdowns in the final seven minutes in pulling away.

“We had too many turnovers,” Sanchez said. “When you are playing a team of that caliber, you can’t turn the ball over that many times and expect to win the game.”

Junior Russell Booze carried the Gorman offense for most of the night, rushing for 103 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown. After Washington led 14-0, Booze scored on an 18-yard run with 3:36 to play before halftime to prevent the game from getting out of hand.

“Offensively, I was proud of our guys, they did a lot of really good things,” Sanchez said. “We knew we were out-athleted at certain spots, but I tell you what, we were able to do some things in the run game to give us a chance.”

The game marked the end of Gorman’s nonleague schedule. Playing all out-of-state teams, Gorman posted a respectable 4-2 record, including a four-game winning streak and capturing two games in the final minute.

For Sanchez, the improvements were obvious ­— just not on the scoreboard Friday.

“Week 1, we didn’t look too great (in a loss to Mountain Pointe of Arizona),” Sanchez said. “All of sudden now we are right there with the No. 1 team down the stretch.”

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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