Experience in high school football is often measured in years as a starter, and a three-year starter for most teams might play in 30 games.
Bishop Gorman’s offensive line is setting a new standard.
Senior guards Ron Scoggins and Nick Strehlow each has started 45 games and tackle Ronnie Stanley has started 44. That trio will try to use that experience today as the Gaels play for their third consecutive Class 4A state championship.
The Gaels (15-1) will meet Reed (12-1) for the title at 12:15 p.m. at Damonte Ranch High in Reno.
“It brings a chemistry, kind of like a bond,” the 6-foot-3-inch, 315-pound Scoggins said. “We know what each other is thinking throughout the game, throughout the play. It just makes it easier for us, because we’ve jelled together since the first year.”
Scoggins, Stanley and Strehlow, all three-year starters, anchor a line that averages 279 pounds and helps make Gorman’s offense go. The Gaels average 51.1 points.
“Having those guys and the way they communicate and the way they lead, they’ve just been great guys for a long time,” coach Tony Sanchez said.
Stanley missed his first start last week after dislocating his left elbow in the Sunset Region final. But he was back on the practice field by Tuesday, and Sanchez expects his senior to play.
“That’s the way you want to end it,” Sanchez said. “You want those guys to go out and get in the huddle their last time together after everything they’ve done and be able to go out and compete together.”
Running back Shaquille Powell has 2,302 yards rushing and 40 total touchdowns this season, but Reed coach Ernie Howren said Gorman’s line clearly has a lot to do with those numbers.
“That offensive line in front of him, there’s a reason he’s been running for the yards he’s been running for,” Howren said. “They’re big and strong and have great feet.”
Not to mention great experience, and that experience will make it even more difficult for Reed’s defense.
“When you have a line that’s played together for three years and have that many starts under their belt, there’s not too many things you can show them that they’ve not seen before,” Howren said.
Reed’s defense has been key all season, with the Raiders posting four shutouts, including a 49-0 win over Carson in the Northern Region title game.
But stopping a versatile offensive team such as Gorman won’t be easy.
‘We’re pretty balanced,” Scoggins said. “We’re open to anything. Any defense they throw at us, we’ll be ready for it.”
Howren doesn’t expect to stop the Gaels, who also feature junior quarterback Jarrett Solomon, who has passed for 2,431 yards and 36 touchdowns. But he hopes his team is able to make key stops and get its defense off the field.
“They’re going to get their big plays,” Howren said. “You have to understand that’s going to happen, but just find a way to hopefully get a stop.”
That big-play offense was on display during the Gaels’ 56-34 victory over Liberty in the state semifinals. None of Gorman’s eight scoring drives lasted two minutes, and the Gaels rushed for six touchdowns and passed for two.
“We’ve never wanted to be considered a running team, we’ve never wanted to be considered a passing team. We’ve just wanted to be a winning team,” Sanchez said.
Gorman has won plenty in the past three seasons, but one more win would be special. It would give the Gaels a third consecutive title, something the school has never accomplished in football.
“It’s an exciting moment,” Strehlow said. “Nobody else in Gorman history has gotten a three-peat, so it would be nice to get the first three-peat out of everyone who has gone through the school.”
Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at email@example.com or 702-380-4587.In-depth high school sports coverage
FOLLOW THE GAME ONLINE
Nevadapreps.com will offer a live blog today from the Class 4A state final football game at Damonte Ranch in Reno.
The blog will begin just prior to the 12:15 p.m. kickoff and will include key plays and analysis.
To access the blog, visit www.nevadapreps.com and click on the live blog story item.