Brophy quarterback Cade Knox tossed a little screen pass to wideout Isaiah Oliver when Gorman’s Nicco Fertitta popped Oliver with a full-speed hit that dropped Oliver back a few yards. That set the tone for the Gaels’ defense, which had four sacks and two interceptions in a 44-0 victory.
“He’s one of those guys who is always preaching about being physical,” Bishop Gorman coach Tony Sanchez said. “He has that unique ability to run five yards through his target.”
Fertitta and the Gaels will have a bigger test this week as they travel to No. 32 Servite (Anaheim) for a game Friday night. The teams have met the past three years with Bishop Gorman winning each time, but this year, Servite has several elite players, including quarterback Travis Waller, who has committed to Oregon, offensive lineman Clayton Johnston, who has committed to Southern Cal and two uncommitted but highly ranked players in wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown and cornerback-wide receiver Maurice Davison.
“They have seen us a lot and we’ve seen them just as much,” Sanchez said. “We have to be ready for a couple of different wrinkles from them. We know these guys are good. Waller is a good quarterback who has done a good job of making himself into a dual threat. For us, we have to do what we do and turn it into a physical game.”
That’s where Fertitta comes in. He’s 5-9 and 180 pounds, but the Notre Dame commit plays with little concern for his size.
“The kid can hit like a ton of bricks,” said CBS Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “If you watch him on film, he has great feet and a feel for the game.”
At another school, it would be hard to play with a chip on your shoulder when your family’s name is on the stadium. Fertitta’s father is Lorenzo Fertitta, who along with his brother Frank, are the primary owners of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. At Gorman, however, it’s hard for any one guy to be the Big Man on Campus. The Gaels have preseason ALL-USA tight end Alize Jones, running back Biaggio Ali Walsh, the grandson of Muhammad Ali, and Calvin Broadus, the son of rapper Snoop Dogg.
“With all those guys here, that kind of balances everything out,” Sanchez said. “You aren’t going to get treated any differently because it’s not that big a deal. … The thing about it is, Nicco’s older brother and cousin went through this program. Now, nobody questions whether Nicco belongs. When you get into the national community, I definitely feel he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder because there are people who judge him who haven’t looked at his body of work.”
Tough week: One ranked team, No. 26 Eden Prairie, Minn., has a lot on its plate. The Eagles, who have won three consecutive state 6A titles, opened with a 48-6 defeat of Minneapolis South on Wednesday and take on a Canadian team, Oak Park of Winnipeg, Manitoba, on Saturday.
“We have always had trouble scheduling a full schedule,” Eden Prairie coach Mike Grant said. “Next year, this will change, but for now, no one in Minnesota is required to play a full schedule. We had an open date in September where we could not fill a game and we had a good relationship with a team in Winnipeg, where we played them a few years ago. Playing (two games in four days) is a problem, but it’s less of a problem than not having a full schedule.”
One of Eden Prairie’s sophomore players, Adam Daggs, is paralyzed and is in intensive care after he was struck by a car while he was riding a bicycle on Aug. 7. Grant, who said he planned to make a visit to Daggs on Wednesday, said the event has been a sober rallying point for the team.
“There’s a little damper on things because of all the things we’re thinking about,” Grant said. “The team we play, Minneapolis South, had a young man drown (on Aug. 6) and our kids have reached out to them. They realize this could be them. As adults, you have to help them deal with that. High school kids don’t deal with their mortality very often.”