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July 28, 2014

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Bishop Gorman takes Sunset Region title in win over Cimarron

Freshman quarterback Anu Solomon passes for 200 yards, leads Gaels to within one game of vying for state championship

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Sam Morris

Bishop Gorman quarterback Anu Solomon dives into the end zone against Cimarron-Memorial during the Sunrise Division championship game Friday. Bishop Gorman won the game to advance to the state semifinals.

Cimarron-Memorial vs Bishop Gorman

After a 28-point first half, Bishop Gorman cruises into the 4A State Semifinals with a 31-7 win over Cimarron-Memorial Friday night.

Bishop Gorman vs. Cimarron-Memorial

Bishop Gorman kicker Colin Ditsworth celebrates with teammates after the Gaels beat Cimarron-Memorial in the Sunrise Division championship game Friday. Bishop Gorman won the game, 31-7, to advance to the state semifinals. Launch slideshow »

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Anu Solomon deserved some praise after this performance.

So when Bishop Gorman coach Tony Sanchez spotted Solomon after his team’s 31-7 victory against Cimarron-Memorial in the Sunset Region Championship game, he called the freshman quarterback over and put his arm around him.

Sanchez then started praising Solomon loud enough so that anyone in proximity could hear.

“He came in here tonight and he made the plays he’s made all year,” Sanchez said. “I’m wondering when people are going to stop questioning him as a freshman, because he doesn’t play like a freshman.”

Solomon passed for 200 yards and a touchdown against Cimarron and rushed for another score.

He completed his first nine passes in a row to give Bishop Gorman a 14-0 lead before the end of the first quarter that it never relinquished.

“I just stepped up and really gave it all I got,” Solomon said.

Of course, the Gaels’ all-around talent contributed, too. Solomon actually didn’t throw Gorman’s first touchdown pass.

On a fourth-down play from the 32-yard line at the beginning of the game, Sanchez called for a halfback pass.

The attempt at deception didn’t trick the Spartans, whose cornerbacks stayed right with the Gael wide receivers. But Gorman running back Shaquille Powell threw a perfect pass to Taylor Spencer in the back of the end zone where only he could catch it.

“The reason you call that play is to fool them and they weren’t fooled. The guy did a great job,” Sanchez said. “Shaq has never thrown a ball that pretty in practice; he’ll never throw a ball that pretty again, but I’m glad he did it tonight.”

Almost every play Powell and Spencer were involved in looked pretty against Cimarron.

Powell rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Spencer had three catches for 90 yards and a touchdown.

Spencer also made the biggest defensive play of the game. On its opening drive, Cimarron drove down near the Gorman red zone.

But when Cimarron quarterback Kenny Banks threw toward the end zone, Spencer stepped up and intercepted the pass.

“That was huge at the very beginning of the game,” Sanchez said. “They had the ball, had the momentum and were driving down. Taylor Spencer had a great night tonight.”

Those were the kinds of plays the Gorman defense made all night. Cimarron’s only touchdown came when it took advantage of good field position and pieced together a 27-yard drive.

Cimarron’s Stephen Nixon, who had 64 yards on 19 carries, scored on a nine-yard run early in the third quarter.

Cimarron’s other star running back, James Poole, rushed for 55 yards on 14 carries.

“They compete like crazy,” Cimarron coach Rod Vollan said. “Tonight, we came up short. Sometimes, that’s what happens.”

In the fourth quarter, Gorman added an exclamation point to its victory when kicker Colin Ditsworth easily made a 49-yard field goal attempt.

The Gaels will travel to Reno next Friday to take on Reed High School for the right to advance to the Nevada state championship at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Although Bishop Gorman wasted no energy celebrating its Sunset Region title Friday night, everyone agreed that there were still goals to be reached.

“This is just the beginning,” Solomon said.