There was no reason for USA TODAY Super 25 No. 1 Bishop Gorman to be concerned about losing its top spot in the rankings entering a local contest against a 1-3 Spring Valley squad. Of course, that was before the game kicked off and the Gaels slept-walked through the first two periods, to the point where Spring Valley pulled within 14-6 early in the second quarter.
Of course, that brief Spring Valley run re-energized a Gorman team that may be the nation’s most talented. Seconds after yielding its first points, Bishop Gorman scored another touchdown to push back out the lead.
From there, Gorman never looked back, cruising to a 49-6 lead at halftime and 70-13 victory that maintained its undefeated season and the possibility of a third-consecutive national title. The game was so comfortable that four-star quarterback Tate Martell was replaced for the final drive … of the first half. The final seven points of the game came on a touchdown reception on the final play of the game to make the final scoreline a touch closer than the epic blowout it truly was.
The gulf in quality between the teams underscored the largest challenge that may face Gorman for the rest of the season; fighting complacency. It’s not that Gorman’s future foes are bottom feeders; to the contrary, the Gaels’ final two opponents, Durango (4-0) and Sierra Canyon (5-0), are both undefeated themselves. Rather, it’s just that any team would struggle to remain mentally sharp and avoid a letdown after a triple OT thriller against a fellow top-10 ranked national squad, not to mention wins against national-caliber foes in four different states: Texas, Florida, California and Hawaii. For the record, none of those foes came particularly close to the Gaels before the St. Thomas Aquinas triple-overtime, 25-24 jaw-dropper.
All of which raises the potential that the best way to beat Bishop Gorman may not be to execute a specific strategy, but rather to hope that it is lulled into complacency to a degree that it is unexpectedly vulnerable to a foe’s explosive plays, and enough of them to outpace whatever offense Martell and running back Biaggio Ali-Walsh are able to magic up.
On Friday, it was Spring Valley that couldn’t keep up. The Gaels assume there will be many that follow them from among Gorman’s own region, provided Gorman can stay focused all the way through.