Friday, Oct. 31, 2014 | 12:45 a.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer celebrate rivalry week in Southern Nevada by discussing the big three — Centennial vs. Arbor View, Bishop Gorman vs. Palo Verde and Las Vegas vs. Liberty. They also touch on the Division 1A playoffs.
In more than decade of coaching high school football, Bishop Gorman High's Tony Sanchez never singled out a player with this type of award.
After senior running back Russell Booze continued his stellar season by rushing for 187 yards and three touchdown on 13 carries Thursday in Gorman’s 49-0 victory against rival Palo Verde, Sanchez stood before players and gave Booze the game ball.
“It’s an honor,” Booze said. “I just have to thank my offensive line. They grind it out every day in practice.”
The ball, with the ‘G’ logo imprinted on the side in the school’s colors of blue and orange, was well-earned. And not just with scoring runs of 54, 10 and 21 yards against Palo Verde, who in 2008 was the last Nevada team to beat Gorman and the Gaels’ most-heated rivals.
Booze now has 17 touchdowns on the season to go with nearly 1,200 rushing yards. Most of the damage came during a six-game stretch to open the season when Booze excelled against the Gaels’ national schedule, helping them become the nation’s No. 1 ranked team. Tonight’s efforts helped Gorman finish the regular season undefeated to win the Southwest League.
“I’ve watched Russell Booze grow,” Sanchez said. “I have coached a lot of Division I players and he is one them. He is unbelievable what he has accomplished this year. He is just head and heals above everybody. No matter who we play, whether it is Bosco or Corona (of California), it doesn’t make a difference. He is the best player on the field in the backfield.”
Gorman hasn’t been challenged since beating St. John Bosco at the end of September — well, until the first half against Palo Verde. After having its bye last week, it took Gorman’s offense a few plays to get scoring.
While Gorman won by seven touchdowns, it led just 7-0 after the first quarter. A few plays into the game, Gorman quarterback Tate Martell fumbled to give Palo Verde the ball at the Gorman 25. On Gorman’s second possession, it failed to pickup a first down and had to punt.
“Our offense didn’t help (the defense) out at the beginning of the game,” Sanchez said. “It was the first time all season where we came out and sputtered early on offense.”
Martell hooked up with Alize Jones on a 9-yard scoring strike to start the scoring with 20 seconds left in the first quarter. On Gorman’s next possession, he threw an 81-yard touchdown pass to Tyjon Lindsey. In the second half, Biaggio Walsh and Jonathan Shumaker had touchdown runs for Gorman.
But this night belonged to Booze.
On his 54-yard touchdown run with about four minutes remaining before halftime, Booze showed off his speed by outracing the Palo Verde defense to the end zone.
“It is a tradition. To play Palo every year, it’s an honor,” Booze said. “They are a good team and they played their hearts out. We just out-executed them.”
Gorman hosts Desert Oasis next week in the Sunset Regional quarterfinal. They would play the winner of the Legacy-Centennial quarterfinal.