Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 | 12:55 a.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports editors Ray Brewer and Case Keefer recap a particularly memorable week 1 in Las Vegas high school football that included Bishop Gorman obliterated a Texas power and two games between top five teams that came down to the final minute.
When Tate Martell heaved the ball 50 yards into the back of the end zone on the last play of the first half Friday night, Bishop Gorman High was in an unusual position.
Up only two points on a Cocoa Tigers team from Florida, the Gaels were in a rare struggle with a team less than half its roster size.
But when tight end Brevin Jordan leaped over the defender to pull down the touchdown, all was right for the nation’s top-ranked team.
Jordan’s touchdown gave Bishop Gorman a 19-10 lead, a momentum boost the Gaels would ride in the second half en route to a dominating 46-10 win.
“Florida has really good football and Cocoa is no different, so it feels really good to go up against a really good coach in coach (John) Wilkinson, and Cocoa — a really good program,” Bishop Gorman coach Kenny Sanchez said.
The Gaels had taken down top teams from California, Washington, Arizona, Utah and the East Coast, but Florida had eluded them.
“It means a lot,” said defensive lineman Haskell Garrett. “We’ve been defeated in the past by Florida teams, but this is a great win. We can come back saying we have beaten a team from Florida.”
Gorman didn’t just beat Cocoa, they outclassed them — leading to a running clock with over 10 minutes to play in the game.
Quarterback Tate Martell completed 13-of-21 passes for 273 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for 89 yards and another score.
After struggling in the first half, Martell completed 7-of-8 in the second half and shredded the Tigers’ secondary for touchdown passes of 61, 52, 42 and 12 yards.
“I think he just settled in,” Sanchez said. “He’s a great football player and expectations are really high. If you don’t take care of things in the first half you have a whole other half, and I thought he played really well in the second half.”
Jalen Nailor caught four passes and led the Gaels with 119 yards and two touchdowns.
All-city running back Biaggio Ali-Walsh was held out of the game with a minor ankle injury, and Amod Cianelli filled in and finished with 75 rushing yards.
After a razor-close first half, the Gaels held Cocoa to 13 yards in the second half.
“We want to stop the run all the time and make teams open up their pass game,” Garrett said. “We want to eliminate the run game.”
Down multiple scores in the second half, the Tigers had to turn to the air in a comeback attempt but were unsuccessful.
South Florida commit Bruce Judson and backup Bradley Canarie combined to go 1-for-11 for 0 yards passing in the second half.
“We wanted (Judson) to stop running and force him into his throwing game, and see what he could do as a quarterback throwing the ball,” Garrett said.
Gorman outgained Cocoa 458-185 in total, leaving another elite team in its wake.
Next up for the Gaels is St. John Bosco, who Gorman edged out 34-31 in 2014.
“Once we are on all cylinders we are a great team,” Garrett said. “ We all have little errors here and there that we need to fix. We will be back to work tomorrow."