Leading state No. 3 Servite of Anaheim by a point near the end of the second quarter, visiting Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas sparked to victory by backup QB from San Diego County. Nation’s No. 1 team (by USA Today) gets huge contributions from multiple California natives in marquee Week 0 matchup at Cerritos College.
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Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas traveled to Southern California amid the media onslaught that comes with having players related to famous personalities such as Muhammad Ali and Snoop Dogg, not to mention holding the nation’s No. 1 ranking according to one of the major national media groups.
Amid the glitz and glamour, the Gaels knew they were in for a tough matchup against Servite of Anaheim and its Oregon-bound quarterback Travis Waller. In the first half, Bishop Gorman didn’t look the part of a national No. 1 team and late in the second quarter led California’s No. 3 ranked team in the preseason by only a point and had not scored an offensive touchdown to that point.
The complexion of the game changed dramatically, however when Bishop Gorman coach Tony Sanchez inserted sophomore QB Tate Martell into the game on the Gaels’ final drive of the first half. He promptly led Gorman on a seven-play, 70-yard scoring drive capped by a go-ahead, five-yard touchdown run by Russell Booze and the Gaels never looked back, defeating Servite 48-27.
Bishop Gorman looked the part of a mythical national title contender with Martell in the lineup. Servite’s defense couldn’t figure him out at all in the second half, as Martell led Bishop Gorman (2-0) to five scoring drives after intermission. Martell finished the game with 152 yards passing and three touchdowns and added 110 yards on the ground, with the majority of that rushing total coming after he eluded a defender or two in the backfield.
Fellow sophomore Tyjon Lindsey scored Bishop Gorman’s first touchdown on a 92-yard punt return. He also caught two touchdown passes, including a 29-yarder where Martell escaped the pass rush and found his good friend wide open. The broken play touchdown gave Bishop Gorman a 27-13 lead and put the Gaels in total control of the game.
Waller did his best to keep Servite (0-1) in the game. He completed 15-of-25 passes for 282 yards and one touchdown to Equanimeous St. Brown and rushed for 138 yards and another score. Servite came away without a touchdown on four first half red zone possessions, including three inside the five-yard line. If the Friars had taken a bigger lead, perhaps the second half would have played out differently, but then again, Martell’s performance might have led to a comeback victory, not just a victory led by a back-up quarterback.
Gorman’s Cali Contributions
Martell and his good friend Lindsey both played varsity football at Poway High School in 2013. And yes, Lindsey said the team got a jolt in the arm when Martell was inserted in the lineup late in the second quarter.
“Yes, most definitely…me and Tate have a great chemistry on the field,” Lindsey said. “We’ve been playing together since the 7th grade. When he got on the field, we just put it together.”
Martell and Lindsey not only are good friends and transferred from San Diego County to Sin City together, Lindsey actually lives with Martell’s family. Martell does work with renowned QB trainer Steve Clarkson, a Wilson of Los Angeles graduate and former L.A. City Section Player of the Year, but it was still impressive to see a 10th-grader come off the bench in that environment and completely change the game.
One of Martell’s touchdown passes went to another transfer and California native — Cordell Broadus. The son of rap and reggae star Snoop Dogg started out at Long Beach Poly (his father’s alma mater) and played last season for Diamond Bar High School. His 33-yard touchdown reception gave Bishop Gorman a 41-20 lead with 7:40 remaining in the game.
The coach who made the QB switch also has connections to the Golden State. Sanchez previously coached at California of San Ramon. After Friday night’s victory, he’s now 71-5 two games into his sixth season with five Nevada state titles already on his resume.
Gorman has defeated Servite four consecutive seasons.
Servite shouldn’t drop much from its pre-season perch in the first regular season rankings and will look to rebound next week versus Corona. The Friars face state No. 2 De La Salle on September 27.
Bishop Gorman has not lost to a Nevada foe under Sanchez. The Gaels have bigger aspirations than just a state title and after facing Bingham (South Jordan, Utah) at home next week, Gorman will return to Southern California to face Corona Centennial. After that, it’s home games versus Santa Margarita and state No. 1 St. John Bosco of Bellflower. Gorman’s path to a mythical national title obviously would include a win over Bosco and then Bosco repeating as the CIF Open Division bowl champ. Gorman’s argument loses some steam if, for example, another team other than Bosco goes 15-0 and wins the CIF Open Division crown.
Ronnie Flores is the managing editor of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores