Tony Sanchez says his program is past the stage of accepting moral victories. But the Bishop Gorman coach was far from sulking after his team lost to the nation’s No. 1 ranked high school team, Booker T. Washington High School of Miami, Fla., 28-12, on Friday night at Fertitta Field.
Maybe the fact the Gaels (4-2), despite committing four turnovers and botching a PAT, stood toe-to-toe with the extremely talented Tornadoes (6-0) and had their chances to pull off the upset until midway in the fourth quarter had something to do with it.
“I’m proud of our kids,” Sanchez said. “We played the No. 1 team in the country and we played them tough.
“It’s not a moral victory. We’re past that in this program. That’s a game we fully expected to win. (But) we had too many turnovers. And when you’re playing a team as talented as that one, you can’t have turnovers like that and expect to win. Hats off (to Washington). At the end, they made more plays than we did.”
Especially Florida State-bound quarterback Treon Harris.
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Harris passed for 177 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another, repeatedly keeping Gorman’s defense off-balanced with his dazzling scrambles out of trouble. He finished with 107 yards rushing on 22 carries and was easily the difference in the game.
“Our defense played their guts out,” Sanchez said. “The defense was lights out and gave us an opportunity to win the game.”
It didn’t look that way at the start as Washington took an early 14-0 lead on a pair of touchdown passes by Harris. First the 5-foot-11 senior hit West Virginia-bound Lamar Parker with a 6-yarder on a perfectly thrown fade and followed it up with a 35-yarder to Deltron Hopkins, who slipped behind two Gorman defenders in the end zone.
But Bishop Gorman, which came into the game averaging 236 yards per game rushing, got its running game going after that while also clamping down on defense. The Gaels cut the deficit to 14-6 on an 18-yard run off left tackle by junior Russell Booze. However, the snap on the ensuing PAT was mishandled.
The Gaels blew another golden opportunity a few minutes later when junior safety Nicco Fertitta dropped a Harris pass in the flat at the Washington 40 with looked like a probable pick-six.
Gorman, taking advantage of a 12-yard punt by Washington punter Jose Borregales, closed to within 14-12 midway through the third quarter on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Randall Cunningham II to tight end Alize Jones on 3rd-and-goal. The Gaels tried a fake on the PAT but couldn’t get a pass off.
Still, it was still anybody’s ballgame until Washington extended its lead to 21-12 midway in the fourth quarter on a 11-yard run by Harris. The score came five plays after linebacker Terry Jefferson recovered a fumble by Cunningham, his first lost fumble of the season for the Gaels.
Talk about bad timing. Cunningham, who was just 1-for-3 for 5 yards in the first half, also threw three interceptions, including one on the final play of the game. He finished 7-of-15 for only 71 yards.
Harris connected with Parker for a 40-yard touchdown with 1:43 left to complete the scoring.
Booze finished with 111 yards on 24 carries to lead the Gaels offensively.
STORY BY STEVE GUIREMAND;PHOTO AND VIDEO BY BARRY WONG
Whew!!!! Man that was tough. Gorman is a very well coached team and made us earn it. Much love to our boys and our coaching staff.
— Tim Harris JR. (@IceHarris) October 5, 2013
We played hard tonight! Love my team to death and thank you to all the people who came out and supported us! #Gsquad
— ⚠Alize Jones⚠ (@King_Jones8) October 5, 2013