Gorman back to winning ways, easily handles Servite

Originally posted by Ray Brewer at LasVegasSun.com

Photo by Clint Jenkins / Jenks Imaging

One play.

That’s all it took Friday for the four-time defending state champion Bishop Gorman football team to return to its winning ways.

Daniel Stewart returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown against visiting Servite of California, setting the tone for a 41-17 victory and helping erase memories from last week when the Gaels struggled in dropping their opener.

Stewart’s one play nearly turned into a disaster.

He bobbled the kickoff in fumbling the ball, but was quick to recover with Servite defenders quickly approaching. Then, he raced virtually untouched up the sideline for an electrifying start to the game.

Gorman’s offense sputtered at times last week in a loss to Mountain Pointe of Arizona, but Stewart’s big play gave them confidence. It also gave them the lead for the entire game.

“I didn’t know where the ball went. As soon as I picked it up, I saw an open lane and took it,” said Stewart, who also returned a kickoff for a touchdown last week.

One game after only having one pass thrown in his direction, junior five-star tight end Alize Jones impacted the game with six receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown on a bizarre play to close the half.

With seconds left in the second quarter, Randall Cunningham II heaved a Hail Mary pass toward the endzone. The underthrown ball was tipped by two Servite defenders, then caught by Jones who easily walked into the endzone.

Yes, everything, seemed to be going Gorman's way.

“It is one of those plays, it doesn’t work very often. You wish it worked at the end of the game when you needed it,” Gorman coach Tony Sanchez said. “It was a Hail Mary. We said throw it up to Alize and see what happens and we got lucky.”

Cunningham improved from the opener when he completed just six passes. Friday, he showed off the running ability that has major Division I coaches heavily recruiting him, racing 59 yards for a touchdown with 7:44 to play in the second quarter. In total, he completed 13 of 20 passes for 203 yards. He also rushed for more than 100 yards.

“You saw a totally different quarterback this week,” Sanchez said. “He did a really good job with the play action pass and getting out of the pocket, and his ability to extend plays.”

Stewart ran hard all night in scoring three touchdowns, runs of 7, 9 and 1 yards. The final score came on a fourth-down play in the fourth quarter to give Gorman a 41-10 lead and put the game out of reach.

“This week at practice, we practiced really hard,” Stewart said. “It brought us back to reality, the loss. When we practice that hard and the line works that hard for me, we are going to win.”

Gorman will have another chance to prove itself on a national level next week when it travels to Santa Margarita, Calif.

“We got progressively better. We still have a long way to go, but I like the strides we made,” Sanchez said.