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High School Football:

Worth the risk: Gorman overcomes 14-point deficit, beats Cali school on 2-point conversion

2014 High School Football

Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Bishop Gorman High School football players Noah Tialavea, Alize Jones, Nela Otukolo, Jackson Perry and Jabari Butler on Monday, July 21, 2014.

Tony Sanchez already made up his mind.

With the Bishop Gorman High football team trailing by 14 points early in the fourth quarter Friday at Centennial of Corona, Calif., the Gaels’ coach told assistants they’d go for the 2-point conversion and victory instead of an extra point if the opportunity presented itself.

It did.

After Tate Martell threw his third touchdown pass of the game with about 2:30 remaining, Sanchez made a calculated risk by attempting the conversion. Score and the Gaels have a good chance of winning to remain undefeated. Fail to convert and the game is likely over.

Martell hooked up with Alize Jones for the conversion, giving Gorman a 43-42 victory.

“We were having a hard time stopping them,” Sanchez said. “We had just come back from that huge deficit and thought we had a play that could work.”

Any play designed for Jones seemed to work. Gorman compiled more than 650 yards of offense with Jones, the nation’s No. 1 rated tight end, scoring two touchdowns and accounting for about 150 receiving yards.

“He was every bit the No. 1 guy in the country tonight,” Sanchez said. “He was unbelievable.”

Gorman trailed the entire game until the 2-point conversion, struggling to slow down Centennial’s no-huddle offense. Gorman surrendered nearly 500 yards of offense.

But, with the game on the line, the Gorman defense rose to the occasion. When Centennial got the ball back, linebacker Nela Otukolo forced a fumble to give Gorman the ball with around two minutes remaining.

All they had to do was run out the clock — a familiar scenario. Gorman also had to run out the clock last week against Bingham of Utah, but Martell fumbled the snap from center to give Bingham the ball with seconds remaining. Bingham kicked a field goal to force overtime, where Gorman (4-0) ultimately prevailed by three points.

“The thing about it is, we are playing a gauntlet of a schedule,” Sanchez said. “We aren’t just playing great teams. We are playing historically great programs.”

Considering this is the second time in three weeks Gorman has traveled into the Los Angeles area, emerging again victorious speaks volumes on the quality of team they have. They are ranked No. 3 in the nation by USA Today, which is down two spots from the preseason No. 1 mark after the close game with Bingham.

“We had a really tough time slowing (Centennial) down, but we fought and found a way at the end to create some turnovers,” Sanchez said. “Our kids got a great win today when they were down and had to come back.”

Sophomore Biaggo Walsh had a long touchdown run to help the comeback, and Jonathan Schumaker also scored a rushing touchdown.

The gauntlet continues next week at home when Gorman hosts Santa Margarita of California. Last year, Gorman needed overtime to beat Santa Margarita.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21

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