Like a handful of “national-caliber” teams, Las Vegas powerhouse Bishop Gorman spends its preseason challenging teams from other states. Unlike many of those national counterparts, Gorman plays in a state where it is rarely challenged, meaning the most likely chance for a loss comes before it begins its annual in-state slate.
The last chance for one of those setbacks was a classic trap door of a game in Utah against Lone Peak High School, one of the state’s top programs. In the end, the Gaels rallied for a 28-21 win, putting a loss in Hawaii to Aloha power St. Louis further in the rearview mirror in the process.
Here’s what we learned from Bishop Gorman’s latest win:
1) It’s hard to beat Gorman if you don’t keep up with their fast start
The Gaels tend to be most successful when they can get off to a quick start and put an opponent on its heels. Saturday’s matchup played out right to plan. The Gaels built up a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, expanded it to 21-7 at the half and drove out Lone Park’s starting running back. That didn’t keep the Utah power from a fierce second half comeback, but it did prove too much to overcome, just as planned.
2) The true MVP of Saturday’s win? GORMAN’s red zone defense
Utah could have proved the banana peel that it looked like on the schedule, if not for Gorman’s penchant for coming through with big defensive stops and turnovers. One big Lone Peak drive in the first half was foiled by an interception. Another was stopped via a turnover on downs on the goal line. In fact, Gorman finished the first half with two interceptions, the aforementioned goal line stop and enough mojo to feel confident heading into the second half, and just enough there to hang on for a big win.
3) Lone Peak lost to Gorman, but also to injuries
Despite digging itself a massive first half deficit, Lone Peak fought back valiantly and even earned a 21-21 tie late in the fourth. The most impressive part of that was that Lone Peak pulled off its final scoring drive with a backup quarterback after starter J.D. Neeleman was lost to a suspected concussion. If Neeleman and their starting running back don’t leave the game? Who knows how it would have finished.