Friday, Sept. 24, 2010 | 10:58 p.m.
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The Bishop Gorman High football team will be in the national spotlight Saturday when they travel to Northern California to face nationally respected De La Salle. The game will be televised by CBS College Sports, giving the Gaels a chance to make a splash — for themselves and the Las Vegas area.
The Palo Verde Panthers improved to 5-0 on the season and 3-0 in league play with a 34-7 victory over Cimarron-Memorial on Friday.
Panthers running back Brandon Wright rushed for 223 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries.
Three of Wright’s four touchdowns came in the first eight minutes of the first quarter.
“Brandon’s had a great year, you know, and I think their whole game plan was to shut down Brandon,” said Palo Verde coach Darwin Rost. “I told Brandon they are going to get a good dose of you in the first quarter.”
Wright rushed for a 56-yard touchdown on the Panthers’ first offensive play of the evening. Wright appeared to be bottled up at the line of scrimmage, but he broke free down the sideline and beat a Spartan defender to the end zone.
“The first play, they did a good job of just jamming us, and Brandon popped it out and took it to the house. He ran real hard,” Rost said.
On the Panthers’ second possession, Wright took the opening handoff of the series 28 yards to the Spartans 13-yard line. Wright scored from five yards out three plays later to give the Panthers a 14-0 lead.
After forcing the Spartans to punt on three straight possessions, Wright made his best run of the evening to give the Panthers a 21-0 lead less than eight minutes into the contest.
Wright dashed down the right sideline for 20 yards before cutting back across the grain and eluding several Spartans defenders for an eventual 43-yard touchdown run. Wright scored touchdowns on three of his first four carries.
“My reputation has been to run out of bounds,” Wright said of his third touchdown run. “I caught them off guard. They started slowing down thinking I was going to run out of bounds, so I saw the opening to the left and I cut back and made a man miss, and I was thinking the house the whole time.”
The Spartans fought back in the second quarter to cut into the Palo Verde lead. Spartans quarterback Gerard Martinez Jr. connected with running back Christian Brown for a 38-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to make it a 21-7 game at halftime.
The Panthers received the opening kickoff of the second half and drove the length of the field for a touchdown to give Palo Verde a commanding 27-7 lead.
Panthers running back Jonathan Maxwell capped off the drive with a touchdown from a yard out. Maxwell finished the game with 16 carries for 84 yards and a score.
Palo Verde added another touchdown in the third quarter to give the Panthers a 34-7 lead. Wright took a sweep handoff 20 yards and beat a Spartans defender to the right corner end zone.
Palo Verde played ball-control offense and strong defense to remain undefeated on the season. The Panthers rushing attack was so effective that they only went to the air three times.
“It feels pretty good but, at the same time, we were 5-0 last year, too,” Wright said. “Then we lost to Legacy and you see how fast that goes. We can’t get complacent. Our goal is to get better every week.”
Palo Verde will look to remain undefeated after a short week as they host Cheyenne Sept. 30 on Thursday Night Lights.