Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) has won three consecutive Super 25 football titles. If the Gaels hope to become the first team to win four in a row since De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) did it from 2000-2003, they will have to do so with a new quarterback.
Tate Martell, who was 43-0 as a starter at Bishop Gorman, is a freshman at Ohio State. That means that Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who had a total of 48 throws the past two season, will have to step up.
Thompson-Robinson, who committed to UCLA last month, has plenty of playing experience, but most of it isn’t under center. He primarily played receiver last season and had 22 catches for 397 yards and eight touchdowns. He also ran for 171 yards and three touchdowns. Fortunately, since Bishop Gorman usually led handily, he did get to complete 21 of 31 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns last season once Martell was on the bench.
“He’s coming in and taking over,” said Bishop Gorman offensive coordinator Craig Canfield. “We’re not changing anything. We’re running the same offense we ran with Tate.”
Like Martell, Thompson-Robinson is mobile and is willing to run, if needed. At 6-2, he’s two or three inches taller than Martell, so there are some reads he may adjust to more quickly because he has a higher vantage point. One concern is he didn’t see many pressure situations when he did play quarterback last season. He played in the fourth quarter of the Gaels’ season-opening defeat of Cedar Hill, Texas, and played a lot against Cocoa, Fla. The rest of his quarterback time came when the score was out of hand.
“He’s played in so many big games, just not at quarterback,” Canfield said. “He’s calm and cool and a leader. The biggest way we get him used to the pressure of being quarterback is put so much pressure on him in practice. That way, when that first game comes, the games will seem easier than practices. We try to make practice uncomfortable for him.”