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Gorman’s defense spearheads victory

D.J. Ingram traded in his helmet for a baseball cap long before Saturday’s Class 4A state football championship game ended.

The Bishop Gorman senior and his teammates had done enough and deserved a rest.

Ingram, a 6-foot, 270-pound defensive lineman, spent most of the first half in McQueen’s backfield, disrupting the Lancers and helping Gorman to a 38-17 victory.

“We just went hard every play, played fast, played smart and played tough,” Ingram said. “I’ve wanted this for four years.”

Ingram and fellow Gaels linemen Justin Chiasson and Alex Turner, along with linebacker Evan Palelei, had a field day, combining for 22 tackles, two sacks, two fumble recoveries and a touchdown.

Gorman’s defensive front took McQueen, which had averaged more than 31 points per game, out of its offense.

“We physically dominated the line of scrimmage,” Gorman coach Bob Altshuler said.

Ingram had two tackles in the backfield on McQueen’s second possession. That helped the Gaels gain possession of the ball on McQueen’s side of the field and eventually led to a Gorman field goal.

“He’s a beast,” Palelei said of Ingram. “I don’t think there’s anyone in the state who can stop him.”

Josh Jordan, a senior defensive back, added to the Gorman defense’s fun when he intercepted a pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter.

In the first half, the Gaels allowed 98 total yards on 31 McQueen plays.

Turner, a sophomore, showed his versatility by hustling down the line to bat down a screen pass early in the fourth quarter.

On the next series, Palelei had the highlight of the game for the defense, picking up a fumble and rumbling 86 yards for the game-clinching touchdown.

The Gorman defense had been solid all year, posting four shutouts and holding opponents to seven or fewer points three other times.

“We did the same thing we’ve been doing all year,” Turner said. “The coaches put us in a position to make plays, and we were playmakers today.”

And a defense that went overlooked much of the season as Gorman’s high-powered offense received most of the credit shined on the biggest stage.

“We didn’t need anyone to tell us we were good,” Palelei said. “We knew we were good.”

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