Comeback bid for state No. 1 St. John Bosco of Bellflower comes up just short in 34-31 road loss to Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas. Gaels’ victory could mean there will be a new No. 1 team in the state next week, but importance of game won’t be known for weeks to come.
Friday night’s Bishop Gorman-St. John Bosco had all the makings of a No. 1 vs. No. 2 national matchup — star-studded lineups on both sides, a national ESPN television audience and enough side story lines to keep the audience entertained even if the game didn’t live up to the hype.
The game almost didn’t live up to the hype, as host Bishop Gorman jumped out to a 20-3 halftime lead and eventually stretched it to 34-10 on a magnificent scramble and throw by QB Tate Martell for a 24-yard touchdown pass to tight end Alize Jones with 4:02 remaining in the third period. It look like the highly-anticipated game was going to be a blowout, but the Braves rallied down the stretch and cut their deficit all the way down to three points with 1:12 remaining on a eight-yard touchdown reception by WR Kaylin Franklin from QB Josh Rosen.
St. John Bosco tried for the onside kick and got the perfect bounce, only to see the ball slip away into the hands of a Gaels’ up man to secure the game for the home team. Rosen finished the game with 244 yards and three touchdowns on 13-of-26 passing, as the UCLA-bound signal-caller had a few deep balls he’d love to have back. The Braves just couldn’t get over the hump after their slow offensive start.
Here’s what we learned from Gorman’s 34-31 victory:
1) St. John Bosco is not as good as last season
The Braves may go on to win a CIFSS Pac-Five title and perhaps even a CIF state title, but they are a notch below last year’s state team of the year that defeated De La Salle in the CIF Open Division state title game. There are not as many playmakers on offense and the defense is not as talented, especially among the back seven. It was evident midway through the game that Bosco was not going to stop Gorman from scoring. To their credit, the Braves eventually found their own offensive rhythm and made a game of it, only to come up short.
2) Tate Martell is the difference-maker for Bishop Gorman
Gorman didn’t look like the nation’s No. 1 team when it defeated Servite of Anaheim 48-27 in its second game of the season. Quite frankly, at times, the Gaels didn’t look like it either on Friday night against Bosco. But there is no question it is a completely different team since the sophomore QB who played at Poway last season took over halfway through the Servite game. Since then, Gorman has defeated four CIFSS Pac-Five Division programs with Martell leading the way with his feet and ability to make something positive happen when things break down. Against St. John Bosco, he set the tone early when he manufactured a first down via a 13-yard fourth down pass reception to keep a 71-yard scoring drive alive on Gorman’s first possession. It also looked like he was going to be stopped in the backfield before he hit Jones on the 24-yard touchdown reception in the third period to give Gorman a 34-10 lead. Martell, who just received an offer from USC, finished 12-of-17 for 230 yards and two touchdowns.
3) The Trinity League could still be that good
Just because Gorman went 4-0 against CIFSS Pac-Five teams and 3-0 vs. the Trinity League doesn’t mean the state’s toughest league isn’t as good as advertised. Gorman has the makings of a national top five team and might well be the nation’s best if the teams it has already defeated go on to have quality seasons. For instance, Bosco has a chance to still finish 14-1 and win its second consecutive CIF Open Division title or perhaps meet the Corona Centennial team Gorman defeated by a point for the CIFSS Pac-Five championship. The games in the Trinity League will still be wars and Bosco vs. Mater Dei should still be one of the best regular season matchups in the state. Remember, Mater Dei easily beat the Corona Centennial team Gorman had trouble with and it’s not as if Bosco was completely outclassed by Gorman in Friday night’s game.
Too bad that De La salle can’t play Gorman this year. That would be the game to watch. They should try to get together next year.