Bishop Gorman captures third straight Class 4A state title

RENO — A matchup that looked pretty good on paper turned ugly quickly on the field Saturday.

Reed came into the game averaging 52 points and had been nearly as dominant against Nevada foes as Bishop Gorman, having outscored in-state teams 639-156.

But the Gaels took over from the beginning, scoring the game’s first 41 points on the way to a 72-28 win over the Raiders in the Class 4A state title game at Damonte Ranch High. It was Gorman’s third consecutive state championship.

"We knew that Reed was going to be a good team, and we thought they would be able to hang with us," Gorman quarterback Jarrett Solomon said. "But we just do what we do best: execute every play."

The Gaels (16-1) used two sustained drives early to take control. Gorman marched 80 yards on eight plays on the opening drive, capped by a 25-yard touchdown run by Shaquille Powell, the first of four touchdown runs for the senior back.

Gorman then went 68 yards on 10 plays on the next drive, with Powell scoring on a 5-yard run.

"The first two drives were really methodical, kind of chipped away at them and got some good things done," Gorman coach Tony Sanchez said. "After that, Jarrett hit a couple of balls, extended some plays, and the floodgates opened, and we exploded on them."

Solomon hit wide receiver Jamir Tillman with a 20-yard touchdown pass after a Reed fumble, and the Gaels led 20-0 at the end of the first quarter.

"Running the ball is a great way to open up the pass game," Gorman senior guard Ron Scoggins said. "Once we pounded them with the running game in the beginning, then it opened them up so (Solomon) could get all those passing touchdowns he had in this game."

Solomon completed 13 of 16 passes for 312 yards and five touchdowns, all in the first half.

He had touchdown passes of 52 and 78 yards to wide receiver Ryan Smith and scoring strikes of 26 and 57 yards to wide receiver Terrence Chambers, and the Gaels led 55-7 at the half. Gorman outgained Reed (12-2) by 283 yards in the opening half.

"The corners were soft, their coverage was off, and we just took what they gave us," said Solomon, who didn’t attempt a pass in the second half.

Gorman emptied its bench to start the second half but still scored on its first drive, as Kline Fielden kicked a 34-yard field goal with 8:25 to go in the third quarter.

After Reed quarterback Anthony Silva threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Alec Braun, the Gaels responded by driving 80 yards for another score, this time a 3-yard pass from backup quarterback Makoa Tyndall to running back Tajon Allen.

Gorman had 451 yards of offense in the first half and finished with 695.

"Our kids have always played good in these big games," Sanchez said. "There’s never been a big game our kids haven’t been ready. Our kids are about big games, and it showed today. They were really impressive."

Powell added a 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter and finished with 16 carries for 156 yards.

Smith caught six passes for 193 yards, and Chambers had three catches for 100 yards.

Tyndall completed 7 of 11 passes for 118 yards in the second half for Gorman, which won three straight football titles for the first time in school history.

"It’s amazing," Sanchez said. "Everything we did today was for Gorman. It’s nice to be a part of something that’s a little bigger than one person."

Silva completed 17 of 34 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns.

"If you’re going to play a team like Gorman that’s as good as they are, you have to play mistake-free football," Reed coach Ernie Howren said. "We didn’t do that, and that’s because they’re such a good football team."

Gorman was playing for the 16th consecutive week. The Gaels won two games in one week after Western canceled its season and had to forfeit and Gorman scheduled another opponent that week.

"I don’t know of any high school or pro or college team in America that’s going to play 16 games in a row," Sanchez said. "We might be the only one. It’s hard, and it’s tiring, and I’m glad it’s over, and so are the kids."

But the Gorman players hope the streak of titles isn’t done.

"This is a great way to finish it off," Scoggins said of his career. "I hope they keep the trend going, keep coming to state, keep winning and represent Gorman."

Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at dseiters@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4587.

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