Thursday night, after a walk-through practice, St. John Bosco’s football team went to the Monte Carlo Casino in Las Vegas to see the Blue Man Group. Friday, the No. 1 Braves from Bellflower, Calif., ran into another group of blue men who seemed to be everywhere – Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas). The No. 2 Gaels, wearing their blue uniforms, defeated Bosco 34-31.
It was the Braves’ first loss since a 13-10 CIF Southern Section playoff defeat in 2013 to Long Beach Poly, ending a 19-game winning streak. The game answered for now which is the No. 1 team and a few other questions as well.
Does this mean Bishop Gorman has a clear path to being the No. 1 team at the end of the season?
Hardly. The last time there was a No. 1 vs. No. 2 battle, in 2009, St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) defeated Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.) 42-34, then went on to lose the state title. Bishop Gorman has the toughest part of its schedule behind it and the Gaels have won five consecutive state titles, but stranger things can happen, though the last time Bishop Gorman lost to an in-state opponent was in the 2008 playoffs to Palo Verde (Las Vegas).
Plus, No. 3 Allen is lurking as well. The Eagles have won two consecutive state titles and a third consecutive title would be very impressive, as hard as it is to win a state title in Texas. The Eagles struggled Friday but came back for a 35-24 defeat of Marcus (Flower Mound) on Friday.
Who made a name for himself? Bishop Gorman sophomore quarterback Tate Martell passed for 90 yards and ran for 16 yards and a touchdown in the first half, then threw a 67-yard touchdown pass to his roommate, Tyjon Lindsey, that broke the game open in the third quarter. He also connected on a 24-yard touchdown pass to tight end Alize Jones. With his ability to continue the play, Martell creates angina for opposing defensive coordinators and since he’s a sophomore, maybe sometimes for his coach, Tony Sanchez. He had a couple of crazy decisions, one leading to a fumble that Gorman recovered and the other a 24-yard sack, but if he continues to improve, he could have a Johnny Manziel-type high school career. Martell has committed to Washington, but Southern Cal recently offered and others will follow and two years is a long time before he has to sign.
Another player who stood out is the less-heralded Russell Booze, a senior running back for the Gaels, who continually ground out yards, including a back-breaking 80-yard run in the first half. Though he’s not big (5-9 and 170), he keeps his legs moving and rarely is stopped with one hit.
Defensively, Gaels defensive back Jabari Butler did a great job at shutdown corner, knocking away one potential touchdown pass. He also made a nice tackle to prevent another touchdown.
Bishop Gorman’s triple-threat group of receivers: Cordell Broadus, Alize Jones and Lindsey, are really dangerous.
Who’s the better quarterback? Rosen or Martell?
Despite a subpar performance from Rosen, the senior is still the better prospect at this point. The UCLA commit is taller at 6-4 and never appears rushed. If he was throwing to Gorman’s crew of receivers, there’s no telling what he would have done. He kept his team in it when they needed a big score, throwing a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jarrett Balter in the fourth quarter with 5:59 remaining and then another touchdown pass to Kaylin Franklin with 1:12 remaining.
Who were the toughest players on the field?
St. John Bosco’s Sean McGrew, one of the fastest players on the field, kept getting hammered but kept coming and ran for a touchdown in the second half. Rosen took his share of hard hits and kept coming as well. Bishop Gorman defensive back Nicco Fertitta made Bosco’s receivers think with his hard shots.