Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016 | 11:21 p.m.
Not many high school football teams could lose their starting running back, wide receiver and a key member of the secondary to injury and seemingly not miss a beat.
But, then again, there aren’t too many programs like Bishop Gorman High.
The two-time defending national champion Gaels haven’t been slowed with new faces in the lineup, including a 35-7 victory tonight against Hawaii state champion Kahuku for their fourth win in as many weeks to open the season.
Defensive back Malik Hausman, an Arizona-commit, and four-star recruiting prospect Tyjon Lindsey at wide receiver suffered injuries before the season. Then, in the first game, reigning state player of the year Biaggio Ali-Walsh at running back was also hurt.
So, Gorman plugged in sophomore Amod Cianelli at running back, and have spread the ball around to multiple receivers in the passing game. The end result is just like the past two seasons: Gorman can’t be stopped.
It won on the road in Texas against the Lone Star state’s top-ranked team to open the season. Two weeks later, it won in California against St. John Bosco, which was a consensus top-5 teams nationally.
“This program is built on people stepping up,” junior tight end Brevin Jordan said. “We lost Biaggio. We lost Malik. But we had kids step up because this program is built on toughness.”
Against Kahuku, Cianelli rushed for more than 100 yards for the third straight game and three different receivers caught touchdown passes. Tate Martell passed for four touchdowns, including two to Jordan.
Gorman only led by seven points at halftime, but closed with 21 unanswered points for another double-digit win. Not only is Gorman beating these notable national opponents, they are pulling away in the second half to win by convincing margins — by 30, 36, 15 and 28 points.
“I don’t know if we are stating off slow or that we are just playing really good teams and finding ways to finish,” Gorman coach Kenny Sanchez said. “We are doing a good job of playing four quarters of football and staying the course.”
The next big hurdle on the Gorman schedule is in two weeks against St. Thomas Aquinas of Florida, another respected national opponent. And by then they may get Ali-Walsh and Lindsey, who each dressed tonight but didn’t play, back.
In the interim, though, the others are doing just fine.
Jalen Nailor, a junior, had a slick over-the-shoulder catch in the first half to set-up a touchdown. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, a highly-coveted quarterback recruit for 2018, has become the Gaels’ go-to wide receiver. He scored his third touchdown of the season tonight. Austin Arnold also had a touchdown for the Gaels.
“We are pretty deep in the receiving corps, and that is without Tyjon Lindsey out there,” Sanchez said.