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Second-quarter outburst fuels Gaels’ attack

For 11 minutes and 41 seconds Friday night, Desert Oasis was matching top-ranked Bishop Gorman stride for stride.

But the Gaels put a quick stop to that.

Gorman scored six touchdowns in the final 12:09 of the first half and rolled to a 56-6 road win over the Diamondbacks.

“We had the best quarter we’ve had,” Gorman defensive end Jalen Grimble said of his team’s 35-point second quarter. “The first quarter we came out here and lost focus. We played to the competition level instead of playing to our potential.”

Desert Oasis’ KamBrenn Heatley scored on a 28-yard run with 19 seconds to go in the first quarter to cut Gorman’s lead to 7-6, but the play seemed to wake up the Gaels (4-2, 3-0 Southwest League).

Grimble blocked the extra-point attempt, and the Gaels recovered the Diamondbacks’ onside kick.

On the next play, Gorman’s Jarrett Solomon found a wide-open Ryan Smith for a 52-yard TD pass with nine seconds to go in the quarter, and it was all Gaels from there.

Prior to the TD pass to Smith, Desert Oasis outgained Gorman 174-86. The Gaels then outgained the Diamondbacks 268-46 the rest of the way.

Desert Oasis’ option attack produced some big runs early, including a 65-yarder by Chaunsi Heatley, but the Diamondbacks found little room to run in the final three quarters.

“Defensively I don’t care who you play, if you let down, you’re going to pay for it,” Gorman coach Tony Sanchez said. “They’re doing a good job running that option. If you’re not sound, it’ll get you.”

Desert Oasis (4-2, 3-1) struggled on four consecutive punts, helping to set up Gorman’s second-quarter onslaught.

First, Evan Zeger returned a punt 23 yards to the Diamondbacks’ 41. Seven plays later, Solomon found Smith on a slant, and Smith sprinted past the Desert Oasis secondary for a 38-yard touchdown reception.

The Diamondbacks fumbled a snap on their next punt attempt, giving Gorman the ball at the Desert Oasis 9 and setting up Solomon’s 4-yard TD pass to Jamir Tillman.

Grimble then blocked a punt, giving the Gaels the ball at the Desert Oasis 19. Two plays later Shaquille Powell scored on a 19-yard run to make it 35-6 with 3:03 to play in the half.

Gorman got the ball back after a 13-yard punt, but the Diamondbacks appeared to have the Gaels stopped at the Desert Oasis 30. But Gorman was called for holding on the play, and Desert Oasis decided to accept the penalty rather than allow the Gaels to attempt a 47-yard field goal.

Big mistake.

Solomon tossed a shovel pass to Powell, who weaved through the Desert Oasis defense for a 42-yard TD reception with 22.4 seconds left in the half.

Desert Oasis fumbled on the first play of the ensuing drive, and Grimble scooped it up and returned it 17 yards for a score.

Solomon, who didn’t take a snap in the second half, completed 9 of 13 passes for 193 yards and four touchdowns.

“He had a real good game throwing the ball,” Sanchez said of his sophomore quarterback. “We’ve been working on it a little more lately. He had a good game last game, and it’s nice for him to come back here and toss some balls around.”

Smith, also a sophomore, had five catches for 124 yards.

Powell touched the ball just seven times but scored three touchdowns. He had six carries for 82 yards.

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

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