Published Monday, Dec. 26, 2016 | 10:20 a.m.
Updated Monday, Dec. 26, 2016 | 11:23 a.m.
The best high school football team arguably in Nevada state history added to its lengthy list of accolades today.
Bishop Gorman High was voted mythical national champions for a third straight season, finishing No. 1 in USA Today’s rankings to add to its unprecedented run of dominance.
The Gaels, with three All-Americans — including the national Gatorade Player of the Year at quarterback — leading the way, have won 54 consecutive games and eight straight Nevada state championships.
Another national title, which was never in question after Gorman beat nationally-ranked opponents on the road in Texas and California in the initial three weeks of the season, caps a run of success not even those at Gorman could see coming. St. John Bosco, who Gorman beat 35-20, finished No. 6.
“Even though it is mythical and you can’t control the rankings, it really feels good knowing that we solidified ourselves as being the best team in high school football the last three years,” Gorman coach Kenny Sanchez said.
They’ve beat 16 out-of-state opponents, many of whom were ranked in the top-25, over the past three seasons to firmly establish themselves as a national brand.
When the Sanchez brothers — UNLV coach Tony who led them to six state titles and one national champions, and younger brother, Kenny — took over in 2009, Gorman wasn’t even the best team in Summerlin. Nearby Palo Verde beat them by more than 30 points in the playoffs.
Now, it’s a different story.
The Gaels haven’t lost to a local opponent since falling to Palo Verde and scored 84 points in early December in a state-championship win against Liberty, which was also nationally ranked.
With few exceptions, they’ve haven’t been challenged over the past three seasons.
The lone time they arguably were fortunate to win was in September against St. Thomas Aquinas in triple overtime. Bubba Bolden, one of the All-Americans, blocked a short field goal attempt to extend the game and Cal-commit Biaggio Ali-Walsh scored the winning points on a 2-point conversion where if he would have been stopped Gorman would have lost. St. Thomas Aquinas finished ranked No. 5.
“Anytime I talk about that game, you don’t talk about winning as much as how exciting a high school football game that was,” Kenny Sanchez said. “It was back and forth. You couldn’t have written it better. It was an awesome atmosphere; surreal environment. The kids fought so hard on both teams.”
Gorman will be ranked again next season, but has many pieces to replace in order to compete for another national title. Dorian Thompson-Robinson takes over at quarterback for Tate Martell, the Ohio State commit and national player of the year. He’ll be joined by top recruits such as tight end Brevin Jordan, linebacker Palaie Gaoteote and wide receiver Jalen Nailor.
But the defense will be inexperienced with having to replace All-Americans Haskell Garrett and Bubba Bolden, four-star defensive back Alex Perry (Arizona State) and leading tacklers Farrell Hester (UNLV).