Updated February 19, 2021 - 9:45 pm
Bishop Gorman has used its nonleague football schedule as an opportunity to travel the country to play the nation’s best teams.
The last time Gorman faced a nonleague, in-state opponent in the regular season was in 2009.
Faith Lutheran also has loaded up with out-of-state foes the past couple of seasons, and both teams had planned to do the same this season until COVID-19 intervened.
With football being played in Nevada as a six-week season beginning in early March after Gov. Steve Sisolak lifted the ban on full-contact sports Wednesday, the Gaels and the Crusaders have had to change their scheduling plans.
“We looked into playing out-of-state teams,” Faith Lutheran coach Mike Sanford said. “The problem was so many surrounding states played in the fall, and the only states that hadn’t had issues with whether they were going to play, like California, New Mexico and Oregon.”
Some teams in California became on option as opponents for Gorman and Faith Lutheran on Friday when the state announced it had lifted its ban on football and other outdoor sports in counties with a COVID-19 case rate of fewer than 14 per 100,000 residents.
As of Friday, 27 of 58 California counties were within that threshold.
Gorman first-year coach Brent Browner didn’t rule out the possibility of the Gaels trying to find an opponent or two from California, but he is more focused on the simple fact that they can play.
“We’re still waiting on the guidelines,” Browner said. “Nobody knows even if we could schedule somebody whether we’d be able to go there or they’d be able to come here. The schedule we have isn’t normal, but we’re happy to get what we can get.”
Gorman and Faith Lutheran are the only two Class 5A schools in Southern Nevada that will play football this spring.
With all of the 4A schools being members of the Clark County School District, which has opted out of the fall sports season, that leaves 3A opponents such as Moapa Valley, Pahrump Valley and SLAM! Nevada as potential opponents.
While that sets up mismatches between the 5A and 3A foes, Browner has said he has no interest in running up the score on anybody. He sees it as an opportunity to get younger players experience and build relationships with schools in the area that Gorman normally wouldn’t face.
“It’s a great opportunity, not only for us but for those who have never played in this facility,” Browner said. “We’re going to do everything we can to make it a phenomenal experience not only for our players but for theirs to play on this field. Who knows what the fan situation is going to be, but they get it rocking and it’s a great venue.”