The games have begun.
The high school sports year in Nevada gets underway this weekend with a football doubleheader featuring the nation’s top-ranked team and a local team seeking what would be a signature win.
Five-time defending Division I state champion Bishop Gorman will play the season’s first game when it meets Brophy Prep (Ariz.) in the first game of the Sollenberger Classic at Gorman. Reed, the three-time defending Division I North champions, plays Saturday against Mountain Pointe (Ariz.) in the second Sollenberger game, also at Gorman.
Gorman (13-2 in 2013) has had its teams ranked before in some of the various national polls, but the Gaels enter the 2014 season in uncharted territory. For the first time, Gorman is rated as the nation’s top team, starting off No. 1 in USA Today’s weekly Super 25 poll.
Gorman coach Tony Sanchez, whose team faces a brutal six-week stretch of nonleague games to begin the season, said the Gaels aren’t so much concerned about their ranking as they are with breaking the season into one-game segments, beginning with Brophy Prep (5-7). The teams also met in a Sollenberger game in 2008, which Brophy won, 16-6.
“We haven’t won a game yet this season, and we have a lot of things we need to work out on the football field,” Sanchez said. “Practices are no different (with the No. 1 ranking); the weight room is no different; the time we put in is no different. We haven’t talked about it a whole lot. Like we say every year, it’s kind of cliché: the goal is to go 1-0.”
Although the schedule might prove to be too much — six games in six weeks against well-regarded teams from three states — Gorman appears to have the personnel to perhaps make their No. 1 billing stand up. The offense features tight end Alize Jones, one of the nation’s most sought-after players at that position, and receiver Cordell Broadus, who is making a name for himself outside of being the son of rapper Snoop Dogg. The defense is led by Notre Dame commit Nicco Fertitta in the secondary.
“It’s the fastest team we’ve had, on both sides of the ball,” Sanchez said. “I think the makings are there for a special group, but there’s a lot of questions that haven’t been answered yet.”
Brophy will counter with running back Ryan Velez, who gained nearly 1,200 yards last season as a sophomore.
The Gaels and the Broncos will play at 7 p.m. at Gorman’s Fertitta Field. Reed (12-2) and Arizona large-school state champion Mountain Pointe (14-0) will play Saturday at 7 p.m. on the same field.
FRIDAY: Bishop Gorman vs. Brophy Prep (Ariz)., 7 p.m., at Gorman
SATURDAY: Reed vs. Mountain Pointe (Ariz.), 7 p.m., at Gorman
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