Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010 | 2:07 a.m.
Bishop Gorman High running back Shaquille Powell’s performance was so impressive Saturday night, his coach could only find one way to summarize it.
“Shaq in the best running back in the city. There is not even a question about it,” Gaels coach Tony Sanchez said.
Powell rushed for four touchdowns and 243 yards on 19 carries to lead Gorman to a 38-13 victory against visiting Del Oro High of Northern California.
Powell, a 5-foot-9, 174-pound junior, scored three touchdowns during a five-minute stretch in the second half to turn a slim Gorman advantage into a 25-point lead.
It wasn’t the first time Powell has turned in a quality performance.
Last week, he rushed for 196 yards and one touchdown on 29 carries in Gorman’s 24-17 loss to Arizona’s Hamilton High. Unlike Saturday, when Powell used his speed for several long runs, most of his yardage last week came from a physical-style of running.
“There may be guys who are faster, but there’s nobody who busts tackles like that,” Sanchez said.
Powell smiled when told of the high praise from his coach and seemed too humble to compare himself against some of Southern Nevada’s other tailbacks. He said Palo Verde senior Brandon Wright, who on Friday had 11 carries for 271 yards and four touchdowns against Green Valley, would have to be near the top of the rankings.
Del Oro held the ball for the initial seven minutes of the second half, but its drive stalled near the Gorman 20-yard line. That’s when Powell went to work.
He extended a four-point halftime lead to a double-digit advantage by breaking free for a 67-yard touchdown run with 4:43 to play in the third quarter.
Less than three minutes later, he was off to the races again, scoring on a 46-yard run. He capped the outburst with a 2-yard touchdown run on the first play on the fourth quarter.
After losing to Hamilton last week, a defeat that snapped a 15-game winning streak for the defending state champions, the Gaels turned up the intensity in practice this week, Powell said.
The result was obvious. Gorman trailed 13-10 in the second quarter before closing the game with 28 unanswered points.
“Coach was harder on us this week in practice,” said Powell, who also had a 15-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. “It definitely felt more intense.”
Gorman scored the game’s first 10 points, but Del Oro fought back to take a 13-10 lead with 1:36 to play in the first half.
Gorman didn’t take long to answer.
Quarterback Anu Solomon, who completed nine passes for 81 yards, threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Evan Zeger with 16 seconds left in the half for a 17-13 Gorman lead. The Gaels would never trail again.
Del Oro, the second of three quality out-of-state teams Gorman will face this year, plays in the tough Sierra Foothill League in California. While they aren’t nationally ranked like Hamilton was last week, Sanchez said the win was a big-time accomplishment.
“That’s a good football team,” Sanchez said. “For us to be able to come out and have a victory like that against that quality of an opponent, that’s huge for our program.”