Published Friday, Sept. 14, 2018 | 10:35 p.m.
Updated Friday, Sept. 14, 2018 | 11:08 p.m.
A seven-point second-half lead for the Bishop Gorman High football team tonight at No. 11 De La Salle of California quickly turned into a double-digit deficit.
Gorman surrendered 20 unanswered points in the second half, including a pair of long touchdown runs, and sputtered mounting a comeback in a 27-21 defeat because its offense kept turning the ball over.
Gorman finished its nonleague schedule with a 1-3 record, which surpasses the program’s loss total from the past three seasons combined.
Still, Gorman — especially in the game’s final minutes— showed improvements from its early-season struggles.
Micah Bowens scored on a short touchdown run with 1:50 remaining to trim the deficit to six points. Gorman, with three timeouts at its disposal, prevented De La Salle from getting a first down to force a punt.
Bowens drove the Gaels into De La Salle territory and had a few shots at the end zone to win the game. But the Gaels ran out of time in losing for the third time in four games to open the season.
“I am proud of the boys for staying in and fighting until the end,” Gorman coach Kenny Sanchez said. “We expected to win that game. We fully expected to win.”
Bowens accounted for all three of Gorman’s touchdowns, rushing, throwing and catching a pass for a score.
It started on the first drive of the game when Bowens completed 5 of 5 passes for 57 yards and a touchdown to Donovan Smith on a fourth down play for an early 7-0 lead. Twice on the drive, Gorman converted on fourth down.
“He has done some really good things,” Sanchez said of Bowens. “He continues to get better.”
The Gorman defense was also strong early. It held De La Salle off the scoreboard for most of the first half, including forcing a pair of turnovers on downs on De La Salle’s initial two possessions.
But De La Salle’s Henry To’oto’o had a touchdown run before halftime to even the game at seven.
Bowens and Smith again hooked up for Gorman late in the third quarter, this time on a wide receiver option pass. Smith, the Gaels backup quarterback, connected with Bowens for a touchdown and 14-7 lead.
That’s when De La Salle took control of the game.
In five offensive plays, the California power scored twice on long touchdowns, from To’oto’o and Shamar Garrett, to build the lead to 27-14.
“Defensively, we played really well,” Sanchez said. “But late in the third quarter, we played really bad. The counter kicked our butt on three plays. Other than that, created turnovers when we needed to and held them when we needed to.”
Gorman has a week off before starting Southwest League play Sept. 28 against Silverado. The nine-time defending state champions haven’t lost to a Nevada opponent since 2008.