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Cheyenne defense to challenge Gaels

After a slow offensive start, Bishop Gorman’s football team found its groove.

The Gaels had just 139 points in their first six games but scored 269 in the next six.

Now they’ll try to prove themselves against the area’s top defensive team.

Gorman (11-1), the defending Class 4A state champion, hosts Cheyenne (10-1) at 7 tonight in the Sunset Region semifinals.

“Their defense is stacked at all levels,” Gorman offensive lineman Sam Womack said. “They’ve got great linemen, they’ve got great linebackers, and they’ve got a great secondary. We’re just going to get in there and play some smash-mouth football.”

Cheyenne has allowed an average of 5.5 points this season and has posted five shutouts. Since losing 25-0 to Palo Verde on Sept. 19, the Desert Shields have allowed just 17 points in seven games.

“They swarm,” Gorman quarterback Joe Huber said. “They just fly to the ball. They’ve got a lot of team speed.”

Gorman’s offensive turnaround coincided with Huber’s move to quarterback. The Gaels used three quarterbacks early in the season, and Huber saw much of his time at running back during those first six games. But Huber has become the team’s primary quarterback in the last six games.

“His speed at quarterback, it’s a big factor,” Gorman coach Bob Altshuler said. “You’ve got to defend him, but you’ve still got to defend everybody else. It allows us to do some different things because of his speed.”

Huber is one of many weapons for a deep Gorman team. Eighteen players have carried the ball, and 17 have at least one reception.

“You really can’t key on anything on our offense,” Altshuler said. “Too many people touch the ball. So you’ve got to defend the field. That makes it a lot harder than to just key on one good, go-to guy.”

Cheyenne’s go-to guy has been senior running back Marcus Sullivan, who has rushed for 1,476 yards and 19 touchdowns and caught seven TD passes.

But the speedy back will have to do his damage this week against a Gorman defense featuring several Division I recruits, including defensive end Justin Chaisson, who has committed to Oklahoma. The Gaels have posted four shutouts and have allowed an average of 7.5 points.

“Our guys just have to step up to the plate and do what they’ve been doing most of the season,” Cheyenne coach Charles Anthony said. “It’s going to be against some (Division I) caliber guys, but that’s what football’s about, rising to the occasion.”

Contact Prep Sports Editor Damon Seiters at dseiters@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4587.

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