Posted: September 2, 2012 - 1:23am
Bishop Gorman tops Saint Louis, 52-40
Bishop Gorman WR Jamir Tillman lays out to make a reception as Saint Louis' Jaisen Sanchez defends. Eugene Tanner | SL
Nationally ranked Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas showed its might and athleticism early to knock off Saint Louis, 52-40, in a nationally televised game Saturday night at Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium.
Senior quarterback Anu Solomon, who has verbally committed to play at Arizona, passed for 231 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for another to lead the Gaels (2-0), ranked 11th in the USA Today Super 25 rankings after beating nationally ranked Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) the previous week on national TV.
"You cannot give a team like Bishop Gorman opportunities to capitalize on mistakes we gave them," Saint Louis coach Matt Wright said. "They're a great team, extremely disciplined, truly talented. They deserve the ranking that they got. I thought our boys did a great job fighting all the way to the end. Now it's time to get ready for the ILH season."
Bishop Gorman coach Tony Sanchez was not surprised at what he saw in Saint Louis.
"They were everything we thought they were going to be," he said. "They're tough, they're explosive and energetic. We knew they were going to play a physical brand of football.
"We had to play to the wire. Those kids never stopped fighting. I felt like we got complacent and we stopped competing right there in the middle of the game. When you play a team with that much history and that well-coached, you're crazy to think that game's over. I take full responsibility. I felt our kids got a little lazy on defense; we gave up a bunch of big plays. So my hat's off to them. They went out and executed. They're a very good football team."
The Gaels scored on four of their six first-half possessions to take a commanding, 28-0, lead into the break. After the Crusaders (1-2) scored to open the second half, Bishop Gorman extended its lead with TDs on a 96-yard kickoff return and a 48-yard punt return to make it 42-7, initially initiating the mercy rule running clock with 6:28 left in the third quarter. But after several minutes ran off, the referee asked Wright if he wanted to resume play on regular time. Wright was told Bishop Gorman made the request.
"I told them we want to play," Wright said. "We came here to play one of the best teams in the nation and want to play to the end. I don't like the idea of having a running clock in the first place. I think the boys took that as a challenge and said, 'Look, let's put up as much as we can.' But too little, too late at the end."
If Saint Louis elected to stay with the running clock as a self-preservation measure, no one could blame it. Starting QB Kawai Mook-Garcia played most of the first half on a sprained ankle, which occurred on the Crusaders' first series of the game, he said. But he played on, completing 3 of 9 passes for 28 yards with an interception by Dalton Baker.
But backup Ryder Kuhns, a sophomore, started the second half and guided the Crusaders on an eight-play, 56-yard drive that ended with him scoring on a sneak from one yard. He finished the game completing 23 of 38 passes for 247 yards and three TDs.
"Ryder really stepped up," Wright said. "You kind of throw him into the fire. He's had some time under his belt and I thought he handled himself extremely well. He very calm, very collected. He's never really too high or never really too low."
It wasn't known if Mook-Garcia would be ready for the Saints' Interscholastic League of Honolulu season opener against 'Iolani next Saturday.
Another bright spot for Saint Louis was running back Adam Noga, who had 193 yards rushing on 20 carries and two TDs, including a 73-yarder.
"He's a warrior," Wright said. "He's the one that can carry the load and I'm glad that he's on our team."
Solomon had a hand on three of the Gaels' first-half scores, throwing TD passes of 13 yards to Nathan Starks and three yards on a fade on a diving catch by Jamir Tillman. Solomon also scored on a six-yard run. Starks added a three-yard TD run to complete the first-half scoring. He led Bishop Gorman with 99 yards on 20 carries.
After Kuhns led the Crusaders' first scoring drive of the second half, the explosive Gaels scored on the ensuing kickoff with Justin Sweet's 96-yard return. Later Ryan Smith scored on a 48-yard punt return that made it 42-7.
But the Saints scored with 2:03 left in the third quarter on a Noga's 27-yard run. The Crusaders cashed in on the Gaels' only turnover when Solomon fumbled as he was being sacked by Jaron Hall-Moniz. Kuhns threw the first of his three TD passes to Kainoa Abreu, a 12-yarder to pull Saint Louis to 42-20 with 51 seconds left in the third quarter.
Solomon tossed his third TD of the night on an 18-yarder to Smith in increase the Gaels' lead to 49-20 before Noga's 73-yard made it 49-26.
Bishop Gorman added a 39-yard field goal by Kline Fielden to make it 52-26.
Kuhns threw TD passes of 12 and 15 yards to Abreu with 4:34 and four seconds left in the game, respectively, to end the scoring. Abreu finished the game with six catches for 96 yards.
The 92 combined points by the teams is the 12th highest in a game involving Hawai'i teams.
September 2, 2012
Justin Sweet, 96 yard kickoff return for touchdown.
Adam Noga, 73 yard touchdown run.
> more video highlights
Bishop Gorman QB Anu Solomon drags a Saint Louis defender as he tries for extra yardage. Cody Ford | Special to SL
Saint Louis RB Adam Noga carries the ball against Bishop Gorman. Eugene Tanner | SL
Saint Louis QB Ryder Kuhns threw for 247 yards and 3 scores in relief of starter Kawai Mook-Garcia. Brien Ing | SL