Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 | 11:50 p.m.
Once Jonathan Shumaker broke into the open field and saw a clear path to the end zone, the Bishop Gorman High junior running back wasn’t only worried about scoring.
“I was holding onto the ball,” he said. “I didn’t want to get stripped or anything. It was wide open.”
Shumaker scored two of Gorman’s five rushing touchdowns today in a 44-0 season-opening victory against Phoenix’s Brophy Prep in the Sollenberger Classic, helping set the tone for the game — and possibly season — with his hard-nosed style of rushing.
The three Gorman running backs in the regular rotation each scored a touchdown and combined to rush for 180 yards on 21 carries.
Shumaker’s 35-yard touchdown run essentially put the game away, giving Gorman a 28-0 lead with five minutes to play in the second quarter. It was less than two minutes after a 4-yard touchdown run from Russell Booze on a fourth-down play.
Gorman, who USA Today ranks as the nation’s No. 1 team, beat the first of six out-of-state opponents to open the season. The competition gets tougher next week when it plays at No. 19 Servite in California, giving Gorman’s three-back rotation another chance to take over a game.
Each brings something different to the table.
Sophomore Biaggio Walsh, who scored Gorman’s first touchdown on a 1-yard run in the first quarter, has elite speed. Booze, a senior, is a savvy veteran with big-game experience. Shumaker is a physical runner who doesn’t shy away from contact — and always makes sure to secure the ball. (Check out this photo.)
“Our game plan, we want to pound the rock every game,” Shumaker said. “We are a run-first team.”
Gorman also had success in the passing game. On the first play of the second half, quarterback Danny Hong connected with Alize Jones on a short pass near the sideline. Jones, the nation’s top-rated tight end who is committed to UCLA, did the rest in outracing the Brophy Prep defense for an 80-yard touchdown.
Also, four-star recruiting prospect Cordell Broadus had four catches for 38 yards in his Gorman debut. Broadus is the son of rapper Snoop Dogg, who sat in Gorman’s packed stands wearing a “Gorman Dad” shirt.
But this night belonged to Gorman’s running game. And, as both Shumaker and Booze pointed out, they weren’t the sole reason for the success.
“Without the offensive line none this would be possible,” Booze said. “They play as a unit. They keep everything focused on the offense.”
The teams exchanged turnovers on their first offensive plays. On the first play of the game, Gorman safety Nicco Fertitta scooped up a Brophy fumble to give Gorman great field position. But on Gorman’s first play, Hong’s long pass was intercepted to give the ball right back.
While the mistakes were few, there’s plenty of room for improvement. This team, despite the convincing win, will get better.
“It was a good start,” Gorman coach Tony Sanchez said. “We have a long way to go, but it was a good start.”