A challenge came down from the coaches to the players at Bishop Gorman this past week — don’t allow this to be the third straight season in which the Gaels lose back-to-back games.
They heeded the message and shook off last week’s loss to St. Louis in Hawaii, thanks to spectacular performances on offense.
Cam Barfield rushed for 184 yards and three touchdowns in the first half on his way to 209 yards. And Rome Odunze caught 10 passes for 217 yards and three TDs as the Gaels defeated Servite (California) 42-21 on Saturday night in the final game of the Polynesian Football Classic at Bishop Gorman.
“I try not to pretend about anything and just tell them the truth about where we’re at,” Gorman coach Kenny Sanchez said. “We’re proud of them for not letting (back-to-back losses) happen three years in a row. It was huge to travel all the way over there and lose to a really good team, then come back over here and get back in the win column.”
Barfield slammed in from 10 yards to open the scoring, then sprinted straight up the middle for an 83-yard touchdown. With Odunze’s 2-pointer, it was a 15-0 lead for Gorman (2-1) with 1:40 left in the first quarter.
After a Servite score, an 80-yarder that was the first of three long strikes through the air from Noah Fifita to Zedakiah Centers, drew the Friars (1-1) within 15-8, Barfield went back to work. He popped a 69-yard touchdown run, and Odunze got in the act with a 32-yard catch from Micah Bowens to push the Gorman advantage to 29-8 at halftime.
“Cam is great, and he’s making them take guys off receivers and put them in the box,” Odunze said. “He’s still breaking runs, and he’s only a sophomore. He has so much potential, and he’s doing spectacular things right now.”
Odunze found the end zone from 45 and 54 yards in the second half on passes from Bowens, but Servite stayed in the game with 54- and 50-yard tallies from Fifita to Centers.
“It was a weird game for us defensively because we played really well — like lights out — except for three plays,” Sanchez said. “That’s defense, though. It’s unforgiving. You can have 60 plays, and if three are really bad, that’s 21 points. Percentagewise, you’re like 92 percent, but we played really well except for three bone-headed plays.”
Bowens finished with 229 yards passing. Fifita had 317 yards but was 15-for-41 and intercepted once by Jaden Hicks. Centers had 187 yards on four catches.