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Bishop Gorman crushes Manogue to earn 5A state football title — PHOTOS

Updated November 19, 2022 - 7:48 pm

CARSON CITY — He won’t move into the mansion near the Nevada state capitol for a few more weeks. But if Gov.-elect Joe Lombardo wants to wow the folks in Carson City, the high school football team representing his hometown showed him how it is done.

Bishop Gorman scored touchdowns on all eight of its first-half possessions en route to a dominating 70-6 victory over Reno’s Bishop Manogue in Saturday’s Class 5A state championship game at frigid Carson High School.

It was the second consecutive 5A title for the juggernaut Gorman program and its 12th big-school state title in the past 13 seasons.

Junior running back Micah Kaapana scored on runs of 51, 83 and 29 yards the first three times he touched the ball and also tallied on a 73-yard sprint and a 42-yard screen pass from Micah Alejado as Gorman (13-1) powered to leads of 42-6 after the first quarter and 56-6 at halftime in one of its most impressive outings in recent seasons.

The game was played in 35-degree weather. But Gorman’s quick start and near-perfection when it possessed the ball — the Gaels scored TDs on three of their first four plays, five of their first nine and eight of their first 14 snaps from scrimmage — warmed the cockles of coach Brent Browner’s heart.

“That was a good team that put up a bunch of points. So for our defense to do what we did, I thought was great,” he said of the way Gorman manhandled the Northern champs, who had lost only once before the big chill. “Kaapana had a monster game and … just the way they all played, man. This is a tight-knit group.”

Kaapana made the Miners (11-3) unravel all by his lonesome. He scored his five TDs on the same number of touches and finished with 236 rushing yards on four carries — a crazy average of 59 yards. The bashful speedster said he had a premonition he might have a big game after a team bowling outing Friday night.

“I’m pretty decent — I think I could play on the bowling team,” he said after striking down Manogue with plenty to spare, although the game plan was not designed around him.

“It was just to spread the ball around,” he said. “We’ve got a bunch of playmakers on this team, but when things were starting to go right, we just decided to keep the momentum going.”

Gorman scored every time it had the ball except when taking a knee from victory formation in the chilly final seconds. The Gaels struck so often — and so quickly — that the mercy rule running clock was activated on the first play of the second quarter.

You could debate about where this Gorman team stands among the other great ones and still not come up with a definitive projection.

But that didn’t stop Browner from casting his ballot for a team whose only loss was 24-21 to Mater Dei of California, ranked No. 1 among the national championship contenders.

“Guys who have been around know it’s one of the best,” he said, alluding to offensive coordinator/assistant head coach Craig Canfield and some of his other veteran aides. “It’s up there, (though) it’s hard to argue with any of the ones that won a national championship and went undefeated.”

But as the sun started to set and teeth began to chatter at the Carson High field, Browner settled for uttering the understatement of the just concluded season.

“But we still have a really good team.”

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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