Bishop Gorman football coach Tony Sanchez couldn’t have scripted a better start or finish to the first half of the home game against Servite (Calif.) on Friday night.
The rest of the game didn’t go so bad, either, as the Gaels bounced back from a season-opening loss to defeat the Friars, 41-17.
Sanchez certainly wouldn’t have drawn up what Daniel Stewart did to get Gorman the early lead.
The senior dropped the opening kickoff, but found a huge hole after he picked it up and raced 95 yards for a score to put the Gaels ahead right away.
Stewart said the team wanted to erase the memory of its nationally televised loss to Mountain Pointe (Ariz.) last week.
“It was great to get off to a good start. All the work we put in at practice finally showed up in the game like we knew was going to happen,” said Stewart, who also returned a kick for a score last week. “After that loss, the mentality was to never let it happen again. We hate losing more than we love winning.”
Sanchez also was pleased with the way his team bounced back.
“We haven’t lost two games in a row in five years, and we play a lot of good teams,” he said. “I think we got stung a little bit last week looking into the bright lights too much and thinking we were more than we were. The history is great, but it can’t help you win. You’ve still got to go out there and play well.
Gorman’s late second-quarter surge helped make sure the Gaels wouldn’t suffer back-to-back defeats.
After a Stewart touchdown run put Gorman (1-1) ahead 28-10 with about a minute left in the half, the Gaels got one last chance before intermission by holding Servite to a three-and-out.
Gorman took advantage. Senior quarterback Randall Cunningham heaved a ball down the middle that bounced off two Friars defenders who were looking for the interception and into the waiting hands of tight end Alize Jones for a 45-yard touchdown as the half expired.
“It was one of those plays that doesn’t work very often, and you wish it was kind of at the end of the game where you really need it, but we just said throw it up to Alize and see what happens,” Sanchez said. “We got pretty lucky.”
Cunningham had a solid night passing and again shined with his feet. He completed 13 of 20 passes for 198 yards and the score to Jones, who had six catches for 133 yards. Cunningham added a team-high 112 yards rushing on 10 carries, including a 59-yard touchdown.
“He threw the ball well,” Sanchez said. “He was a totally different quarterback for us this week. He did a really good job with the play-action pass, getting out of the pocket and extending plays.
“As a team, we got progressively better. We still have a long way to go, but I like the strides we’ve made.”
Stewart scored three rushing touchdowns and ran for 85 yards to go with his return score.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at email@example.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.