Jeremy Rincon / Special to the Sun
Friday, Nov. 20, 2015 | 11 p.m.
Bishop Gorman faced a 4th and 18 in its own territory just moments after Arbor View scored on a touchdown drive that lasted over nine minutes to cut the deficit to 21-7.
It’s an obvious punting situation, but not for Bishop Gorman coach Kenny Sanchez.
He called for the Gaels to go for it not once, but twice after the Gaels were flagged for a false start on the first attempt, and Tate Martell found Brandon Gahagan streaking down the sideline for a 37-yard gain.
“I didn’t really hesitate,” Sanchez said. “We have some really good football players and when you give them an extra down they might make something good happen and they did.”
The Gaels converted two key fourth downs deep in their own territory with long passes in their 28-10 win over Arbor View in the regional championship game Friday night.
“Sometimes you have to not out-think yourself, and if you give yourself an extra down why not take it with good football players,” Sanchez said.
The win didn’t come easy for Bishop Gorman. The Aggies held the undefeated Gaels to their fewest points since Sep. 5, 2014, and their fewest against an in-state opponent since Nov. 27, 2010.
“People are confused because of how well we have done and our success out of state that they think we come into state and we are going to roll everybody over,” Sanchez said. “Those kids over there for (Arbor View) believe in themselves and they believe in their team.”
The Aggies ran the ball 49 times for 199 yards, keeping Bishop Gorman’s potent offense on the sidelines for long stretches of the game.
“They ran the ball well, that’s what they do,” Sanchez said. “They ate the clock up pretty good, but I’ll tell you what, we couldn’t score on offense. Their defense played really well.”
Bishop Gorman was held to 393 yards of total offense, which isn’t bad but is far below their season average.
Star wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey caught four passes for 76 yards and a pair of touchdowns, the second of which was a 23-yarder that put the Gaels up 28-7 and sealed the win.
“Just before that play there was a screen and they tackled me and I remember some dude on their sideline said, ‘Who is Tyjon? He can’t do anything?’ So I went to my coach and told them to let me run a post,” Lindsey said. “So I ran the post. The pass looked a little overthrown so I had to jump for it but it was nice.”
Tate Martell finished the game a pedestrian 13-of-22 for 209 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, but the junior signal caller came through when the Gaels needed him most.
Arbor View quarterback Hayden Bollinger struggled mightily against Bishop Gorman’s stout defense, completing only 2-of-10 passes for 34 yards and one interception.
But the Aggies did find success on the ground, as Morris Jackson ran for 84 yards and Curtis Jones ran for 57 yards and a touchdown. Arbor View rarely broke long runs, with only five rushes for more than 10 yards, but controlled the clock with slow, methodical drives.
“It was really frustrating because they took so long with the ball,” Lindsey said. “On offense you always want the ball regardless.”
But even with the somewhat unexpected struggles, the Gaels still claimed their 31st straight playoff win, and will make the trip north to face Reed High next Saturday.
“We want to win a Nevada state title,” Sanchez said. “We talk about it all summer long and all spring long. And to do that you have to go through Nevada state football, and there are some good football teams here.”
While this is nothing new for Bishop Gorman, who is trying for its seventh straight state championship, it is the first time with Kenny Sanchez as head coach.
“It’s a little bit different now as a head coach, but the ride has been great,” Sanchez said. “To be honest, everything has happened so fast and it’s been such a ride so far that I haven’t really had time to think about it. We have a great staff. We kept pretty much everyone here. We lost a couple guys from last year that went over with my brother, but I’m super proud of everybody.”