RENO — On a team loaded with size and stars, it’s easy to see why Bishop Gorman’s Ryan Smith wouldn’t stand out.
But the junior receiver showed Saturday why opponents shouldn’t overlook him.
The 5-foot-6-inch, 153-pound Smith hauled in six passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns in helping the Gaels to a 72-28 win over Reed for the Class 4A state championship at Damonte Ranch High. The title was Gorman’s third straight.
"He’s a special kid," Gorman coach Tony Sanchez. "He just keeps doing it."
After the Gaels jumped to a 20-0 lead after the first quarter, quarterback Jarrett Solomon turned to Smith.
After a turnover on downs, the quarterback rolled to his right to elude a pass rush, then saw Smith deep downfield.
The junior quarterback lofted a deep ball to Smith, who quickly got behind the defender, catching the pass near the 15 and sprinting across the goal line for a 58-yard touchdown.
"It was a broken play, but I felt the rush coming, so I scrambled to the right," Solomon said. "I saw Smith and thought he was going to make a play, which he did."
Solomon and Smith hooked up on another long pass before halftime, when the quarterback hit his receiver in stride near the 50.
Smith outran the defense for a 78-yard touchdown.
"Ryan Smith is that kind of guy," Solomon said. "He’s a little speedster. He’s a great player."
Smith was quick to credit others for his big day.
"I did good, but I wouldn’t have done it without the coaching staff, the quarterback and the line," Smith said. "Without them, I wouldn’t have caught any of those passes."
Smith finished the year with 37 catches for 1,041 yards and 16 touchdowns. Solomon is in his third year as the starting quarterback, and Smith has been one of his top receivers all three seasons.
"We got our chemistry back," Solomon said. "All year long we didn’t have that Smith-and-Solomon chemistry.
"Ryan Smith is my go-to guy."
And Smith and Solomon hope their familiarity with each other can give the team a good base to build on for next season.
"It’s good because next year hopefully we can get a four-peat," Smith said. "Just that chemistry and knowing each other’s tendencies is good for four years."
Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4587.In-depth high school sports coverage