Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008 | 12:07 a.m.
Sometimes winning an ugly, down-to-the-wire game helps bring a young team together more than just another blowout.
That being the case, Bishop Gorman should be as close as ever following a 20-14 overtime win at home against Dixie High of St. George, Utah, on Friday.
"This gives us a lot of confidence in each other," Gorman cornerback Charles Childers said. "When the game is on the line, we know we can turn to each other. This was a lot of fun and we like it like that."
It was Childers who made the play of the game when he intercepted a pass by Dixie quarterback Mike Sharp in the end zone on third and nine during overtime. Per Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association overtime rules, each team is given the ball at their opponents' 10-yard line with four downs to score.
Childers was one-on-one with a receiver in the corner of the end zone when he leaped high in the air to pick the ball off with his fingertips before crashing to the turf. Gorman's offense took over following the interception and gained five yards on a run by Raphel Finley, two yards on a run by Jordan Welte and two more feet on another run by Welte, who looked like he may have scored on third down.
Then, on fourth and about an inch, Welte plowed across the goal line to end the game. He finished with 98 yards on 17 carries and two scores.
"Honestly, this is the greatest feeling of my life," Welte said. "Me being a sophomore and being up on varsity, it's a great experience for me, and this brings me closer with all the guys. I can't even describe how happy I am right now. A game like this brings us together and that's what we need right now."
Dixie marked the fourth and final game the Gaels played against an out-of-state team this season, including a 16-6 loss at Phoenix Brophy Prep, a 24-0 win over Service High of Alaska and a 13-0 win at Riordan of San Francisco. All are among the better teams in their states.
"Playing teams from out of state is bringing us really good experience," Welte said. "Making us a lot stronger is what it's doing. We've played real high-caliber teams from all over the nation, so now we want to come out here and really put it on these local teams coming up."
The Gaels will face their first Southern Nevada opponent as well as their first Southwest Division opponent when they host Durango on Sept. 26.
"We're excited to play in Las Vegas," Childers said. "We want to send a message to other teams that we belong where we're at. We're going to practice hard this week and be ready for Durango."
The Gaels started the scoring against Dixie on a 35-yard touchdown run by Welte midway through the first quarter. It was the first play of the drive following an interception by Trevor Stuart.
Following a three-and-out by Dixie, Gorman scored again on a 56-yard touchdown run by Joe Huber with 3 minutes, 17 seconds left in the first quarter.
Dixie then got on the board during Gorman's next series when the Flyers' Ian Gatchell intercepted a John Therrell pass and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown. A blocked extra point kept the score 14-6.
It wasn't until 2:35 left in the third quarter when Dixie tied the game on a controversial play. Sharp ran the ball in for a 3-yard touchdown and followed up with a pass to Jake Mills for the two-point conversion.
But most in the stadium thought the touchdown happened on a fifth down. The Home News had Dixie at first and goal from the nine-yard line. Dixie made a 5-yard run, a 2-yard run and an incomplete pass before Gorman stuffed Sharp on a rollout at the 3-yard line and celebrated a would-be goal line stance. But officials spotted the ball and signaled fourth down as Gorman's sideline went ballistic, and Dixie tied the game on the next play.
"It looked like fifth down to me," said coach Bob Altshuler, who added he would consider filing a complaint with the NIAA following confirmation of the series on tape. "But anytime you win in overtime, that's an experience right there. It's a confidence builder. So you have to look at the positive."