Gorman freshman passes major test

Bishop Gorman used its running game to win a Sunset Region semifinal game last week against Palo Verde.

On Friday night, the unbeaten Gaels used their passing game to capture the Sunset title.

Gorman passed for 219 yards in the first half on the way to a 31-7 home victory over Cimarron-Memorial.

The Gaels (13-0) move into the Class 4A state semifinals and will play Reed (11-2) at 1 p.m. next Saturday in Sparks.

“We’re used to getting the run game going and beating everybody with that,” Gorman senior Taylor Spencer said. “But the pass game just worked today.”

Gorman freshman quarterback Jarrett Solomon completed his first eight passes to help the Gaels take a 28-0 halftime advantage.

Solomon finished 9-for-11 for 202 yards and a touchdown. He also had a 10-yard TD run.

“I’ve got to take my hat off to the freshman,” Gorman coach Tony Sanchez said. “We coach him hard, and we expect him to play like a senior, but the bottom line is he’s a freshman. And for him to come out and take advantage of some of the situations we had early, I just couldn’t be prouder of him. He’s an incredible athlete.”

Spencer came up with a pair of huge plays early to give the Gaels the momentum. On the game’s opening drive, Cimarron (9-3) drove to the Gorman 27.

But the Gaels forced quarterback Kenny Banks out of the pocket, and he threw the ball up for grabs in the end zone, where Spencer made a leaping interception.

“That was huge at the very beginning of the game,” Sanchez said. “They had the ball, they had the momentum, and they were driving.”

Spencer then capped the ensuing drive by making a diving catch in the back of the end zone for a 31-yard TD reception from running back Shaquille Powell. The pass came on fourth-and-3.

“Shaq has never thrown a ball that pretty in practice,” Sanchez said. “He’ll never throw a ball that pretty again. But I’m glad he did it tonight.”

On Gorman’s next drive, Solomon found fellow freshman Ryan Smith wide open near midfield, and Smith went untouched into the end zone for a 72-yard touchdown pass as the Gaels took a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

“People keep waiting for him to make a mistake,” Sanchez said of Solomon. “He came in here tonight, and he made the plays he’s made all year, so I wonder when people are going to stop questioning him because he doesn’t play like a freshman.”

Powell added a 20-yard touchdown run, and Solomon’s touchdown run made it 28-0 at the half. Collin Ditsworth hit a 49-yard field goal with 10:56 to play to cap the scoring.

Cimarron’s touchdown came on an 8-yard run by Stephen Nixon with 6:52 to go in the third quarter. Nixon finished with 65 yards on 24 carries. He had to carry the load after leading rusher James Poole went down with an injured right foot in the first quarter and didn’t return.

“They made plays,” Cimarron coach Rod Vollan said. “We had our chances; we didn’t. They had their chances; they did. They win.”

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

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