How big is Bosco vs. Bishop Gorman?

ESPN’s decision announced on Tuesday to move Friday’s game in Las Vegas from ESPNU to a more attractive slot on ESPN reflects the No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in some national rankings. How big the game is, however, depends just as much about what happens to the Braves afterward than it does about what happens on Friday.

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From our four years of doing FAB 50 national rankings as part of ESPN and the defunct ESPNHS, setting up No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups became almost a science and was encouraged by all involved.

When this year’s game between California defending Open Division state champion St. John Bosco of Bellflower and Nevada powerhouse Bishop Gorman appeared on the schedule for Friday, Sept. 26, it was therefore not a shock that it became a No. 1 vs. No. 2 and once it did that it would get moved from ESPNU to ESPN.

Are these truly the top two teams in the nation? We did national rankings for longer than anyone — other than Doug Huff of West Virginia and Dave Krider of Indiana — and no one really knows for sure. We can only say that there is enough evidence based on actual results that Florida teams should be given benefit of the doubt.

Bishop Gorman head coach Tony Sanchez has built program that is going for multiple national rankings championships. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Bishop Gorman head coach Tony Sanchez has built program that is going for multiple national rankings championships. Photo: Willie Eashman.

St. John Bosco didn’t have much of a chance of losing prior to Friday’s game even though the Braves played two fairly decent out-of-state programs – St. Louis of Honolulu (Hawaii) and Central Catholic of Portland (Oregon). We haven’t seen them in person yet this season, but some who have basically have said they are as potent as ever on offense – with UCLA-commit Josh Rosen at QB and junior speedster Sean McGrew at RB – but not as strong on defense.

Bishop Gorman, on the other hand, has had to scrape by in two close games in order to set up Friday’s matchup. The first was 23-20 over Bingham of Utah while the second was 43-42 to Centennial of Corona, Calif. Against Centennial, the Huskies led 42-28 in the fourth quarter and lost on a late TD, a late two-point conversion and then fumbled away their chance for the win. Two of Gorman’s top players have been sophomores Tate Martell (a quarterback) and Tyjon Lindsay (a running back), who both transferred in from Poway near San Diego.

Because Nevada is such a small state and Bishop Gorman has the goal of winning national rankings championships, the only way that can happen is for the Gaels to schedule as many top teams as possible from outside the state.

St. John Bosco joins Servite of Anaheim, Centennial and Santa Margarita as CIF Southern Section Pac-Five Division squads to play Bishop Gorman this season.

For Gorman to have a realistic chance of being a consensus national rankings champ, however, just beating the Braves on Friday is not going to be enough.

The key will be for the Gaels to become huge fans of St. John Bosco afterward and hope that the Braves can once again win the CIF Open Division state bowl game, preferably with no other losses on its record.

There are other scenarios as well that might not favor Bishop Gorman even if it was to win on Friday. What if Mater Dei of Santa Ana, for example, which already has a more impressive win over Corona Centennial this year than the Gaels, were to end up beating St. John Bosco as well and also were to win the CIF Open Division state bowl game?

And one California team that Bishop Gorman head coach Tony Sanchez (formerly from California of San Ramon) knows all too well also could end up with a stronger No. 1 national argument.

That would be De La Salle of Concord. The Spartans play Servite this week and if they win stand a very good chance of being unbeaten heading into the CIF Open Division state bowl game. A DLS win in that game (possibly over Bosco) also would give the program five state titles in six years not to mention a fairly easy win over Bishop Gorman in the only matchup when the two schools played in 2010.

Since we’re only doing California football coverage this year as opposed to national, we can openly root for the Braves to beat the Gaels on Friday. Bosco probably would be a favorite, too, except that Bishop Gorman has traditionally played the Southern California schools very strongly at home.

If you’re from the CIF state office or a fan of California high school football in general, the best case scenario is for Bosco to win on Friday followed by De La Salle beating Servite on Saturday. It then wouldn’t matter much which team comes out of the CIFSS Pac-Five Division as long as that team was undefeated and then playing an unbeaten DLS team for all the marbles. Now that would perhaps truly be a No. 1 vs. No. 2 national matchup.

Wins by both Bosco and Servite this weekend might not be great for the State CIF but would be even better for the CIF Southern Section. The Pac-Five and Trinity League races would only get even more insane than they already shape up to be.

Folsom actually may be just as good as all of these teams, too. With no NorCal Open Division game this year, however, it’s hard to envision the CIF choosing the Bulldogs over the Spartans to play in the Open Division state game if both are unbeaten. Too many people saw what happened in the NorCal game the last two seasons. We assume the Folsom players would love to be able to take another crack at DLS but when they are celebrating on that Friday night in Carson at 16-0 with a CIF D1 title in hand and with a quarterback (Jake Browning) who has just finished the season with more than 100 touchdown passes, we think they will be satisfied.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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  1. phil60
    Posted September 23, 2014 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Well, I think it should be time for the state CIF to rethink their requirement of winning a section championship to get invited to the state playoffs. Whoever is runner-up in the Pac5 should be seeded into the Division I regional bowl. That team would make a much better game against Folsom, who is likely to massacre either the San Diego or Central champion. How fare is it for all of the very best of the Southern Section schools to be placed in the same ridiculously tough playoff grouping, and then to not be considered?

    • osde
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      So let me get this straight… you think a team that can’t even win their section or region deserves a chance to win a state championship? yeah that makes a lot of sense…

      • Mark Tennis
        Posted September 24, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        Are you referring to Folsom because they probably won’t be in the Open Division? By that logic, then Oceanside doesn’t deserve a chance to win a state title because it won’t get the SoCal Open Division slot.

        • Mark Tennis
          Posted September 24, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, I see you are referring to another comment and not the actual post.

          • osde
            Posted September 25, 2014 at 11:57 am | Permalink

            See, that there is the problem with our current state championship format… It is already a foregone conclusion that an undefeated Oceanside team is already out of consideration for the Socal open game… I’m not saying that Oceanside is, or will be, better than the eventual champion but simply because they don’t play in the PAC5 they have zero chance? The fact that state championship representatives are chosen instead of playing into the game completely wipes out the validity of the game. That goes for the two years Oceanside was selected to play in the state championships as well. Who knows? there may have been a better CIF champion that year (or any other year). It’s also a little disturbing that the sbg committees use the rankings from this site in their selections considering you are already saying Oceanside (and presumably any other section champion outside the PAC5) will not be in the open championship….

          • Mark Tennis
            Posted September 25, 2014 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

            I agree that it is a problem and that actual playoffs or more teams getting in there would be better. Don’t get mad at us, get mad the CIF for eliminating the SoCal Open Division game. If that game was still being played, no doubt Oceanside as of now would get a shot at the Pac Five champ.

  2. paul_johnson884
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Great. Let’s have a CA team lose a playoff game then continue to play.

  3. Phoenix45
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    This game is nowhere near as big as Long Beach Poly vs. De La Salle in 2001. That game was HUGE with a lot of national media buzz. I am not hearing much about this game. BG is suspect, after a few close wins against unranked teams, most are beginning to think they are overrated.

    Notice how they refuse to play De La Salle after getting stomp in that one game? They cancelled the second game of that series. I think when De La Salle plays Servite this week it will be a big tell, comparing it against the BG game. BG recruits well, but their coach is lacking big time. Just think what a real coach could do with that talent: make them into team players for one…

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      I agree DLS vs. Poly in 2001 really was the game. It played out to be big for the rest of that season (Poly won the Pac-Five relatively easily) and a good chunk of the players involved went on the NFL.

    • Cali'sBestInOurStool
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 8:14 pm | Permalink


      You are entitled to your opinion. You are not entitled to your own FACTS.

      You wrote, “BG is suspect, after a few close wins against UNRANKED teams…”

      Who? #16 NATIONALLY RANKED Bingham, Utah?


      #20 NATIONALLY RANKED Centennial (Corona)?

      (You couldn’t be referring to #22 NATIONALLY RANKED Servite, or #67 NATIONALLY RANKED Santa Margarita as those games weren’t very close.)

      You also wrote, “Notice how they refuse to play De La Salle after getting stomp in that one game? They cancelled the second game of that series.”

      First, it is indisputable that BG has scheduled the toughest non-league games in the nation. To suggest they’d duck ANYONE is asinine.

      Second, (and FACTUALLY as taken from the article linked below), “the contract for the two teams is just for one year. He (Bob Ladouceur) wasn’t real anxious to see the Gaels any time soon.”

      “Whoever is going to deal with them this year or next year will have their hands full,” he said. “Just like we did tonight.”

      Gorman travel TO CONCORD.

      De La Salle REFUSED to travel to Las Vegas for a 2nd game.


      The FINAL WAS 28-14.

      Here is a link to the game:

      “Indeed it took everything the Spartans had – and a lot more – to pull this one out. Don’t be fooled by the two-touchdown margin.”

      “This was a dead heat and for the majority of the night, Gorman (3-2), the defending and seven-time Nevada state champs, were in control thanks to a huge, physical and superb offensive front and the remarkable all-around skills of junior tailback Shaquille Powell.”

      “In fact, De La Salle, ranked 19th nationally in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 presented by the Army National Guard, didn’t have a single sustained drive until the start of the fourth quarter…”

      Get well soon, Phoenix45…

      • Mark Tennis
        Posted September 25, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        I was there and DLS was the better team. Just a sloppy game for them and still won by two scores. I’ve been to Gorman a couple of times too and they are a good group of people. If they win Friday and Bosco goes on to win the CIF Open Division title again, I have no problem if anyone ranks Gorman No. 1 in the nation. Problem is if they win and Bosco loses more games (especially if it was to DLS by a larger margin). In that scenario, it would be wrong to rank Gorman ahead of DLS.

  4. phil60
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    In my opinion, De La Salle is better this year than either of them, and I think that will prove out at end of season. They would stop Bosco on defense more often than Bosco would stop them. Also, there are teams in Florida and Texas that are ranked ahead of Bosco and Gorman in other, more reliable polls. USA Today doesn’t see the teams play or study them as others do. They have always had shaky credibility in their rankings.

    • Cali'sBestInOurStool
      Posted September 28, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Phil.

      You’ve given me hope that not everyone who posts on this website is delusional.

      I acknowledge your opinion, and share some/most of your point of view.

      USA Today’s credibility is suspect…

  5. NevFootballFan
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink


    That is the narrative that came out of BG. Not necessarily the truth. What really happened, (from what I have learned from someone on/close to the BG staff) was what you don’t see in the editorials, was that BG put a lot of demands on DLS to come up the next year, ones that are not traditional placed on a traveling team. (i.e. revenue sharing, travel itinerary, facilities use, etc) It was too similar to the crap Bellevue did prior to their DLS game. The common belief is that BG either did this to prevent another DLS loss, or to set the stage (off the field) for BG to win. DLS is Sanchez’s White Whale, he will use every nasty trick in the book to try to beat them. So I think Phoenix was right, Sanchez basically decided he didn’t want to play DLS on an even field again and tried to set it so they had all the advantages, the DLS coaches and AD saw through this.

    I saw that game as well, DLS played poorly (as they usually do in the early part of the season), which is what kept BG in the game. It should not have been that close.
    And if you can’t take off the blinders, the DLS coaches always seem to same something complementary about the teams they just played; win or lose. It was no different there. From everything I’ve seen, the DLS coaches are the classiest bunch of HS coaches out there. They don’t talk s**t or ever say anything bad about another team. This is why they don’t put what really happened out there. I don’t think I have ever heard of DLS backing out of a game, they just do what is right for their kids. Can’t say that for Sanchez…

    • Cali'sBestInOurStool
      Posted September 28, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Permalink


      Are you serious with that pen name???

      WHO in Nevada are you a fan of – Reed??? or just everyone that plays Gorman?

      From everything you wrote, you are a DLS fan…seems like you’ve never missed one of their games…

      Or, as a “Nevada Fan” are you one of those Gorman haters?…as you and I both know their are more Gorman haters in Nevada than fans.

      As for your thinking “Phoenix is right”, about WHAT? Nothing he wrote is factually correct.

  6. Trinity_Rocks
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    I’m going to defend De La Salle here, and I hope to see them again in December.

    How was De La Salle “afraid to travel to Las Vegas”? This is a team that routinely travels across the country, they were the team that started the real interstate matches: travelling hundreds to thousands of miles to Louisiana, Hawaii, Florida, New Jersey, Washington, not to mention plenty of trips to Southern California. All to play the best teams in the nation. They have been traveling outside their section since the 1980s. BG travels to Arizona, California, and Utah? They remind me of Grant from a few years ago, a lot of talk and only a few years of flash. Let’s see where you are in a few years.

    De La Salle are the greatest dynasty in sports history, having amassed a 151-game winning streak that spanned more than a decade. Beginning in 1979, with no teaching or head-coaching experience Bob Ladouceur (ret) became head coach of the Spartans and his teams have amassed the highest winning percentage in all of football history.

    Bishop Gorman has a couple of state championships in a weak state. What does De La Salle have?:
    Nationally Championships: 5-9 (Depends on ranking service)
    State Championships: 6 (6 of the 8 years it has been played, all but one in the Open game)
    Undefeated Seasons: 20
    Section Championships: 29
    League Championships: 15 (Only so low because most of the “streak” years they did not belong to a league)
    Longest win streak in sports history: 151

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted September 27, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      De La Salle did not travel to Louisiana to play that first ESPN game. It was held at Diablo Valley College. As for playing Gorman a second time in 2011, DLS also was considering other out-of-state games for that season and did not want to play two of them. It’s a different era for California teams now that we have the bowl games.

    • Cali'sBestInOurStool
      Posted September 28, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Permalink


      You’re another poster on here that creates his own facts…

      WHERE is it written that, De La Salle is “afraid to travel to Las Vegas”? WHO ARE YOU QUOTING???

      I wrote, REFUSED – not AFRAID.

      No one who truly knows high school football and the DLS story criticizes or disputes the legendary status of the DLS program.

      Coach Sanchez at Bishop Gorman MODELED it with REVERENCE as do several others including Bellevue, WA.

      Why would you waste time comparing ANY programs history to DLS???

  7. Gorman goes down!!!
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Ouch…that last post hurt….

    • Cali'sBestInOurStool
      Posted September 28, 2014 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      “Gorman goes down” to WHO?

      Is their anyone left in California???

      I heard De La Who or something like that might be ok this year…

      Too bad they refused to travel to Vegas…

      • Mark Tennis
        Posted September 29, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        Congrats to Gorman. Assume they will finish No. 1 in USA Today and all anyone needs is one media group to rank them No. 1 to claim a national title. Bosco is claiming it for last year due to one computer ranking but everyone else picked Miami Central. Yes, it’s possible that DLS or Mater Dei could end up with a stronger argument to be ranked higher at the end of the season than Gorman, but picking Gorman higher is legit as well.

  8. CalFootball
    Posted September 29, 2014 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    So I see that with the only common opponent – Servite, De La Salle had a greater margin of victory. So logically that means De La Salle should be ranked #1.

    De La Salle has been dominating against good programs, Bishop Gorman has struggled, only winning in the last minutes. Seems like a good case for De La Salle. Especially if/win they win another state title – hoepfully against St John Bosco.

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