Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015 | 10:51 p.m.
When Kenny Sanchez came to Bishop Gorman High from California in 2009, the football coach heard from multiple supporters about the most important game on the Gaels’ schedule.
A few months earlier, Gorman was humiliated in a lopsided loss to Summerlin rival Palo Verde. That didn’t sit well with alumni.
“When we got here in '09, everyone telling us: ‘If you win one game all year, you have to beat Palo Verde,’” Sanchez said. “We had some battles with them, some huge crowds.”
Gorman hasn’t lost since to Palo Verde, and in the past few seasons, the outcome has been one-sided — especially tonight.
Biaggio Ali-Walsh scored on a 60-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage, and host Gorman scored 56 first-half points in a 70-3 victory to win the Southwest League title. The game, at least judging by tonight with a half-full stadium of fans, has lost its luster.
“I remember when I was little watching Ronnie Stanley (a 2012 grad) and all them, and the game was always tight,” Gorman senior offensive lineman Julio Garcia II said.
Not only has Gorman mastered Palo Verde, it’s become a national power. The Gaels are the defending mythical national champions and haven’t lost since 2013, including six wins this season against a who’s who of national opponents.
Last week, it defeated Don Bosco of New Jersey to establish a seemingly clear path to another title. If Gorman runs the table against in-state opponents for a seventh straight year, they should be selected in at least one poll to repeat as national champions. They’ve been No. 1 in virtually every ranking since August.
But there might be another hurdle, according to USA Today.
It reports Gorman could be invited to the late-December State Champions Bowl Series in Florida on ESPNU, where they’d face other top-ranked programs that have won state championships, and have a chance to cement their national championship status.
Sanchez wouldn’t comment on the Florida event, but much remains in the air for Gorman to extend its season.
First, when the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association meets next week it would have to approve state teams — Gorman, Liberty or anyone who has a good season — to compete in end-of-the-year events. And, most important, Gorman would need to accept, which you can argue doesn’t seem logical.
At the beginning of the season, USA Today labeled Gorman as having the nation’s third toughest schedule, and ranked it No. 1. When you consider Gorman wasn’t challenged past halftime in five of six national games, including against two opponents — Chandler of Arizona and Bingham of Utah — still in the rankings, you can argue the Gaels have done enough.
They sure appeared to be the nation’s best against Palo Verde, scoring long touchdown after long touchdown and forcing a mercy rule of a running clock for the entire second half.
Ali-Walsh scored on each of his three carries and gained 180 yards, Tate Martell completed all six of his pass attempts for nearly 250 yards and three touchdowns, and Malik Hausman had a 91-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Troy Wilewski, the backup running back, scored on a 58-yard run and Jalen Nailor scored on an 81-yard reception.