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October 1, 2011
Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman may not get the national title it coveted this season. Friday night, however, it got the next best thing: more national respect.
A balanced offense, timely defense and a big last-minute field goal made up for some mistakes and misplays, allowing Gorman to come away with an important 31-28 victory over Anaheim (Calif.) Servite in a back-and-forth thriller.
Star running back Shaquille Powell led the way, rushing 20 times for 131 yards and a score while adding another 55 yards receiving, along with another touchdown.
Kline Fielden had the biggest points, kicking a 39-yard field goal with 1:03 to go to put Gorman ahead to stay.
Gorman, which is expected to roll to another Nevada state title, solidified itself as a Top 10 team with the win, its second in three games against top out-of-state opponents this season.
The school, which came into the game ranked No. 7 in the RivalsHigh Top 100, crushed Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral, 42-22, to open the season before falling a week later to current No. 5 Seffner (Fla.) Armwood, 20-17.
Friday night's game looked like it was going to be anything but a close one early.
Bishop Gorman took control early as Justin Sweet returned the opening kickoff 89 yards for a score. Then, after holding Servite to just one first down, it drove down the field for an offensive touchdown with Powell going in from 6 yards out to give Gorman a 14-0 lead with 6:31 left in the first quarter.
Servite, however, wasn't going away.
It got a rushing TD from Domain Mora on its next possession. Then, after forcing a Powell fumble, quickly added a field goal to make it 14-10.
Servite wasn't done.
Another field goal followed by another touchdown from Mora gave Servite a 20-14 edge.
When Bishop Gorman went three and out on its next possession, Servite appeared to be in control.
Then Powell stepped up.
He had an interception at safety to set up a short-field touchdown that helped Gorman regain the lead, 21-20 with 1:35 left. Then, following a shanked punt by Servite, he caught a 34-yard touchdown pass to give Gorman a 28-20 halftime lead.
Servite tried to rally in the third quarter but missed two field-goal attempts. It finally got a break at the end of the quarter when a botched snap on a punt gave Servite the ball on the Gorman 18.
Servite quickly scored and then added a tying two-point conversion.
From there, teams exchanged potential scoring drives. Gorman came up short when it fumbled the ball away in the red zone. Servite, which appeared ready for a long game-ending drive, came up short near midfield and punted the ball away.
Gorman then took advantage, driving down the field for Fielden's winning kick.
For Servite, the loss may represent California's last chance to get a big out-of-state victory. The luster is clearly off the Golden State.
The same can't be said for Nevada. Bishop Gorman may be too good within its own borders. This year, however, it is proving it can play with opponents from anywhere.
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