It wasn’t a fun week to be a Bishop Gorman football player.
Winners of four consecutive state titles and facing one the nation’s most daunting schedules, the Gaels were upset by Phoenix’s Mountain Pointe High School, 28-21, in a sloppy season-opening performance.
“We hate losing more than we love winning,” senior running back Daniel Stewart said. “We didn’t like that at all.”
So the Gaels (1-1) decided to take their frustrations on perennial southern California prep powerhouse Servite High (0-1) of Anaheim on Friday night at Fertitta Field, jumping out to a 35-10 halftime lead en route to an easy 41-17 victory.
Stewart led the way, rushing for 101 yards and three touchdowns and also returning the opening kickoff, which he initially fumbled, 96 yards for a fourth TD (See Barry Wong’s excellent highlight video package below).
“That wasn’t the way it was designed,” Sanchez said. “We had a little fumble on there and he picked it up and went. But we do a pretty good job with our kick return team. We’ve had quite a few returns.”
Senior quarterback Randall Cunningham also had a big night, rushing for a game-high 116 yards on nine carries, including a 69-yard touchdown scamper, while also completing 14-of-21 passes for 203 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
“You saw a totally different quarterback this week,” Sanchez said. “He did a really good job with the play-action pass, getting out of the pocket, and then his ability to extend plays.”
Cunningham finished with 319 yards in total offense, and he did it with a crew from NFL Films recording much of it for a future special on him and his father, former UNLV and NFL star Randall Cunningham.
Another Gael who had his share of highlights was junior Alize Jones.
The 6-foot-4, 238-pound Jones, rated one of the nation’s top tight end prospects for the Class of 2015, caught six passes for 84 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown reception on a Hail Mary pass on the final play of the first half that defected off the hands of two Friar defenders (see video highlights above).
Gorman finished 514 yards in total offense, including 311 yards rushing. With a very difficult road trip to southern California next week to face Mission Viejo’s Santa Margarita High School, it was imperative for the Gaels to avoid an 0-2 start and the possibility of the season going south in a hurry.
“We haven’t lost two games in a row in five years, and we’ve played a lot of good teams,” Sanchez said. “It’s going to get tougher and tougher as we go down the stretch. We had a better week of practice this week. I think we got stung a little bit. I think last week we might have been looking into the bright lights a little bit too much, thinking we were more than we were.”
“It was the only thing on our mind the whole week, just bouncing back and getting back to what we do which is to win,” Stewart said. “This was a major step in the right direction.”
Hear more from Sanchez and Stewart in the post-game interview package below.