Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Published Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 | 6 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 | 12:49 a.m.
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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer open this week's show by discussing the top-ranked high school football team in the nation, Florida's Booker T. Washington, coming to town Friday to take on Bishop Gorman. They then work their way into other pertinent topics, highlighted by a discussion of the definition of "athlete" and whether Green Valley can match Canyon Springs' "quickness".
This isn’t a typical Friday night high school football game in Las Vegas.
Bishop Gorman, the four-time defending Nevada state champions, will host Booker T. Washington High of Miami, the nation’s No. 1 ranked team with a roster dominated by blue-chip Division I recruits.
The game will be televised by ESPNU and has been previewed by national media such as USA Today, Maxpreps.com and Rivals.com. It’s widely considered the national game of the week.
Gorman (4-1) is riding a four-game winning streak and ranked No. 18 by Rivals. While some experts expect Gorman to lose by multiple touchdowns, the Gaels haven’t suffered a lopsided defeat in previous national games. They are 10-5 against national opponents in recent years and have had leads in all 15 games.
But, what will it take for Gorman to hang tough tonight? Here are three keys to victory:.
1. Neutralize Washington’s speed: Washington has been called a track team in football pads. The school’s 4x100 team is one of the nation’s fastest, and each of the four sprinters are key performers in football. Gorman will be tested all night in containing those players, especially defensively where one missed tackle could result in a long touchdown. The best way to combat the speed is to keep the Washington offense on the bench. Gorman will be better up front in the trenches with tackle Nick Gates and center Zack Singer leading the way, which could give running back Daniel Stewart opportunity for big yardage. If Gorman can pick up a few first downs and run some time off the clock, they’ll have a chance at pulling off the upset.
2. Treat this like any other game: The Gorman players have been here before and shouldn’t be overwhelmed by playing a marquee game of national significance. They’ve played numerous times on television the past four years in challenging some of the nation’s most storied programs. This is just another week, which gives them a leg up. There will be little room for error created from nerves, and Gorman coach Tony Sanchez has done a great job preparing his players. Part of that preparation is a constant reminder: This is just another game.
3. Home field advantage: When the second half begins around 8:30 p.m., it will be nearing Saturday morning in Florida, which is three hours ahead of Las Vegas in the eastern time zone. Make no doubt about it, traveling to the West in a road trip of a lifetime for the Washington teenagers is full of disadvantages. To beat Gorman and remain ranked No. 1, they will have to handle the time change and being tired from traveling. They’ll also have to deal with Gorman’s 12th man, its G-Block student cheering section. The students will be loud from start to finish in creating a hostile environment. Gorman, at least on paper according to experts, doesn’t stack up to Washington in some areas. Playing at home will cancel out those perceived disadvantages.
Other games of note tonight are highlighted by a nonleague game between visiting Arbor View and Las Vegas, and the Southeast League opener featuring three-time Sunrise champion Liberty at nearby Coronado.
Check back all night as scores become final.
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Stories about other high school football games around the valley: