Published Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 | 10:49 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 | 11:07 p.m.
The Bishop Gorman High football team on Saturday played like the program which entered the season on a 54-game winning streak, and not the one coming off consecutive defeats.
Not only did the Gaels beat visiting De La Salle, Gorman muscled its way to a convincing 34-7 victory against the North California power. De La Salle is one of high school football’s most known brands and gained notoriety from the movie “When the Game Stands Tall,” which documented its more-than-a-decade winning streak.
“We played Bishop Gorman football — tough, gritty, fast and tough,” Gorman senior tight end Brevin Jordan said. “The past two weeks we weren’t playing our game. We came out this week and played hard.”
De La Salle, like Gorman’s three previous out-of-state opponents to open the season, entered ranked in the top-10 nationally. You can argue that posting a 2-2 record against a who’s who of competition is nothing to hang their heads about, even though previous teams set the bar high by winning the past three mythical national titles.
“That is the toughest first four games I have ever seen a high school team play — four in a row, and they played their best in the fourth game,” Gorman coach Kenny Sanchez said.
Gorman scored 34 unanswered points to close the game, starting with a fumble return for a 40-yard touchdown from defensive lineman Adam Plant. The Gorman defense held De La Salle, a strong rushing team, to around 100 yards rushing and controlled the line of scrimmage.
The Gorman offense had arguably its best game, including 7 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown from Jordan, and four grabs for 65 yards and a score from Jalen Nailor. Amod Cianelli rushed for the Gaels’ other score.
“We executed on offense,” Sanchez said. “I think our defense was phenomenal. We didn’t give up any big plays.”
The win probably had extra significance for Sanchez, who is from the Bay Area and previously coached against De La Salle. One year, when he and brother Tony (the UNLV coach) were at Cal High, they lost 37-0 to De La Salle in the Oakland Coliseum. Another season, the game was tied at 14 in the second half, but De La Salle scored late to beat Tony (Kenny was off coaching in Iowa).
Then, when they came to Las Vegas, Gorman lost to De La Salle 28-14 on the road in 2011 despite leading at halftime. Tonight, they didn’t let the lead slip away.
“We have so much respect for De La Salle,” Kenny Sanchez said. “Growing up in the Bay Area and even now today, they are one of the best teams in the country. When you go out and beat a classy, well-coached and very good football team, you feel good about it. It feels good to avenge from 2011.”