Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 | 1:40 a.m.
Bishop Gorman entered the season as reigning national champions with one of the most difficult schedules in the country.
Friday night the Gaels (5-0) continued their six-game, out-of-state part of the schedule with a 38-7 dismantling of Servite High of California.
“Five wins with the stretch that we just went on right now, man that’s pretty tough to do,” said Bishop Gorman coach Kenny Sanchez.
The Gaels controlled the line of scrimmage throughout, bullying Servite on both sides of the ball.
Bishop Gorman out-rushed the Friars an eye-popping 285-15 and held Servite to only 0.9 yards per carry.
“The defense played stout,” Sanchez said. “That is the greatest thing about defense — it is unforgiving. On offense you can punt the ball and regroup and try to fix some things. On defense if you try to fix things you are getting scored on.”
The Gaels allowed only 118 yards of total offense to the Friars, who didn’t drive into Bishop Gorman’s side of the field until the game’s final drive.
“We were super proud of the defense,” said Gaels’ senior receiver Brandon Gahagan. “They played lights out tonight against a team with a ton of great athletes.”
The Gaels' offense struggled themselves out of the gate, scoring only 10 points in the first half despite outgaining the Friars 266-38.
Sophomore kicker Derek Ng missed two chip-shot field goals, and Bishop Gorman committed seven of its 12 penalties in the first half alone.
“Any coach who preaches discipline gets upset when your team commits a lot of penalties, and we did that,” Sanchez said. “That is on the coaching staff, and on me. But, don’t worry, I will fix those things right away.”
Servite’s lone score of the night came when a shotgun snap flew over Tate Martell’s head and into the end zone. Martell scrambled back, picked up the ball and threw it right into the arms of a Servite defender on the 1-yard line.
Servite’s Aaron Simpson punched it in from there to cut the Gaels’ lead to three.
“We made some mistakes and couldn’t finish in the first half,” said Gahagan, who had a team-high six catches for 99 yards. “We talked as a team. The coaches can say what they want but when it comes down to it, it’s between us players and there were some things that we had to figure out as a team, and it made a difference in the second half.”
Bishop Gorman outscored Servite 28-0 in the second half behind another huge performance by senior running back Biaggio Ali-Walsh.
Ali-Walsh carried the ball 30 times, racking up 193 yards and two touchdowns.
“He’s a great football player,” Sanchez said. “He’s been playing great for five weeks and he’s a little banged up like all of us are. That’s a long haul for five weeks, but he’s doing a great job.”
Martell, who had his coming out party in last season’s 48-27 win over Servite, had another solid outing against the Friars.
Martell completed 13-of-29 passes for 244 yards and one touchdown, and added 40 yards on the ground.
After the grueling start to the year, the Gaels will finally face a Nevada opponent next week, when they travel to Shadow Ridge (0-5) to take on the winless Mustangs. On Oct. 23, Gorman has its final out-of-state test when it hosts Don Bosco of New Jersey.
But despite Shadow Ridge’s record — and the fact that Bishop Gorman outscored its in-state opponents 543-54 last season — Sanchez says the Gaels will take no opponent lightly.
“It shouldn’t matter who your opponent is. If you’re a great football team you should never play down to your opponent and always look to get better. It’s not about who we play, it’s really about us.”