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LONG BEACH, Calif. –– Ohio State-bound quarterback Tate Martell showed Friday night against No. 7 St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) why he and his Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) teammates may be on the way to a possible third consecutive Super 25 national championship.
After falling behind Bosco 14-0 in the first quarter, Martell rallied the top-ranked Gaels with three touchdown passes, plus a rushing touchdown, in a 35-20 win against the Braves before over 12,000 fans at Long Beach Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Not only did Bishop Gorman (3-0) overcome the two-touchdown deficit, it also overcame a bunch of first-half penalties that kept the Gaels’ offense bottled up at times, coach Kenny Sanchez said.
“I was really upset with all of the penalties we had,” said Sanchez, whose team trailed 20-14 at the break. “I wasn’t too concerned about how we were playing, but we had to be more disciplined.”
Gorman was penalized 10 times for 73 yards in the first half.
Martell and the Bishop Gorman offense came out fired up to start the second half.
The Gaels put together a 15-play, 88-yard drive that was capped by a short touchdown run by sophomore running back Amod Cianelli, who stepped in after Biaggio Ali Walsh went down with an ankle injury in the first quarter.
A key play in that 88-yard drive was a 4th-and-inches at the Gorman 22 yard line. Sanchez decided to go for it and a sneak by Martell kept the drive moving. Cianelli’s TD run gave the Gaels the lead for good at 21-20 midway through the third quarter.
“Whenever you have a kid like that (Walsh), who can do the things that he does, it’s a big blow,” said Sanchez. “But I’m proud of our guys for our next man in mentality.”
“It’s always nerve-wracking,” said Cianelli, who finished with 129 yards on 25 carries. “I just tried to get in there and do my best.”
Ali Walsh was initially injured in the season opener against Cedar Hill (Texas) and did not play last week against Cocoa (Fla.).
“Amod is a big-time running back,” said Martell. “He’s just sitting behind somebody (Walsh) that’s obviously a really good running back. But right now, he’s got the full-time job and showing he’s a great running back.”
Martell hurt the Bosco with his arm and his feet. He was 6-of-11 passing for 174 yards and three touchdowns. Two of the TDs went to Dorian Thompson-Robinson; the other went to Brevin Jordan.
Martell also rushed for 183 yards on 16 carries, scoring on a 23 yard touchdown scamper to ice the game with 6:10 to go.
“We weren’t really worried at all,” said Martell about the early 14-0 deficit. “We knew if we went out there and started playing our game, we were going to be fine.”
Bishop Gorman racked up 525 yards in total offense and held Bosco (2-1) to 239 yards.
The Bosco defense entered the game having pitched back-to-back shutouts. The Gaels have now beaten teams from the big three states of California, Florida and Texas. Next week they take on No. 17 Kahuku from Hawaii, a team coming off three consecutive shutouts. Kauhku has outscored its five opponents 254-22 this season.
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