Last season, the preseason No. 1 team, De La Salle (Concord, Calif.), went down to Texas for its first game and fell 26-21 to Trinity (Euless).
On Saturday, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), which is No. 3 this season but finished the last two seasons at No. 1 in the Super 25 will have its 39-game winning streak tested at Cedar Hill at 7 p.m. (ET) Saturday on ESPN2. Bishop Gorman coach Kenny Sanchez said the Gaels have a lot of depth, particularly on defense.
“All of our skill guys are back,” Sanchez said. “Our secondary is back. Two of our linebackers are back. Our best DB is back. We lost three of the five on our offensive line, but I think this year, we have a lot of depth and a lot of team speed.”
Cedar Hill coach Joey McGuire said an opener like this will be a true test.
“We’ll find out real quick what kind of team we are,” McGuire said. “I know how good Bishop Gorman is. This is going to be a great game with great players for both teams. If you’ve won 39 in a row, you’ve done something special. It’s hard to win three in a row, much less 39.”
A quick look at the factors for the game:
Talent level: Bishop Gorman has eight juniors and seniors ranked among Scout.com’s top 150 players, led by quarterback Tate Martell, a five-star recruit and three four-star recruits: wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey; defensive tackle Haskell Garrett; and defensive backs Bubba Bolden and Alex Perry.
Davis is the only Cedar Hill player listed in the top 150, but the Longhorns have four other four-star seniors: wide receiver Camron Buckley; wide receiver Charleston Rambo and wide receiver Jaylon Jackson, along with running back Kaegun Williams. Cedar Hill also has two four-star juniors in running back Josh Fleeks and defensive tackle Shabazz Dotson.
State titles: Bishop Gorman has won seven state titles in a row while Cedar Hill won titles in 2006, 2013 and 2014 and Texas is a more difficult state to win a state title in.
On the road again: Bishop Gorman is used to traveling out of state for competition, playing out-of-state opponents on the road and at home every year. Cedar Hill last played an out-of-state opponent in 2008 when it defeated La Salle (Cincinnati) 38-14 at Texas Stadium.
NFL connections: Bishop Gorman has three current players in the NFL. 2016 First-round draft choice Ronnie Stanley is an offensive tackle with the Baltimore Ravens, Xavier Trimble is a tight end with the Pittsburgh Steelers and DeMarco Murray is a running back with the Tennessee Titans. Cedar Hill has two current NFL players: Cowboys defensive back Josh Thomas and free agent wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe.
Martell vs. Texas: This is a stretch, of course. Fortunately for Martell, he won’t be playing Cedar Hill by himself. When Martell withdrew his commitment from Texas A&M last spring, that added a little wrinkle to this game as the move ticked off some Texans.
Texas dominance: Everyone knows there’s no comparison to Texas football. Just ask anyone from Texas and they’ll say the high schools are bigger, the crowds are bigger and the level of intensity is greater. There is something to that. Attendance at Saturday’s game is expected to be about 10,000. However, Texas isn’t the most dominant state against other states, at least it wasn’t last year. In 2015, the Lone Star State won 54.4% of its games against out-of-state opponents, including the aforementioned De La Salle game. Even if you factor in that Texas teams rarely are the ones doing the traveling, that’s impressive. However, among states that played at least 80 out-of-state opponents last year, South Carolina (68.9%), Alabama (63.1%), Maryland (61.3%), Washington (58.8%), New Jersey (58.7) and Ohio (56.8%) all have better winning percentages against opposing states.
Martell vs. Davis: Martell and Cedar Hill’s Avery Davis are two highly thought of dual-threat quarterbacks with high production. Martell threw for 2,537 yards and 40 touchdowns last season, and ran for 604 yards and nine. Davis threw for 2,148 yards and 25 touchdowns and ran for 873 yards and 13 touchdowns. With Martell committed to Ohio State and Davis headed to Notre Dame, they could face each other down the road. The Buckeyes played the Fighting Irish in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, with Ohio State winning 44-28.
Cedar Hill’s receivers vs. Bishop Gorman’s defensive backs: Davis has two elite wide receivers to throw to in Buckley, an Texas A&M commit who had 31 catches for 432 yards and seven touchdowns last season and Rambo, an Oklahoma commit who had 22 catches for 434 yards and five touchdowns. The Gaels are hard to throw on, though, thanks to eight returning starters, including Bolden, and Perry, both of whom have major offers.
According to USA TODAY High School Sports’ score predictor, Bishop Gorman is expected to win quite easily.
Score Predictor uses data from the Super 25 computer to compare two teams and plays multiple simulations to determine the most likely result.