Gorman prevails in epic double overtime game at Santa Margarita

Originally posted by Ray Brewer at LasVegasSun.com

This game is already being billed as a classic.

The Bishop Gorman High football team squandered a 10-point fourth quarter lead today in the final six minutes of regulation at Santa Margarita in Southern California, but still managed to prevail in double overtime, 34-31.

Gorman could have lost the game in the first overtime after botching a field goal attempt, but the Nevada power’s defense held strong by forcing Santa Margarita into a field goal attempt, which it also missed.

Santa Margarita received the ball first in the second overtime and missed another field goal in opening the door for Gorman to grab the win. Gorman, after two failed kick attempts in the game, won when Ramiz Ahmed’s 28-yard attempt split the uprights. In California, the ball is placed on the 25-yard line in overtime; in Nevada, the ball is placed at the 10.

Somehow, after surrendering 10 points in the final six minutes of regulation to force overtime, and being on the verge of losing in the first extra session, the Gaels survived to beat a second quality California opponent in as many weeks.

"It was crazy. Just a great atmosphere," Gorman coach Tony Sanchez said. "It was kind of like the last man standing."

Gorman (2-1) took a 31-21 lead with 6:25 to play in regulation on a 1-yard touchdown run from Kenyan Coker to cap a 12-play, 79-yard drive. But this game, which was televised on Prime Ticket, was far from finished.

Santa Margarita quarterback KJ Costello passed for four touchdowns, including three scoring strikes to Kyle Sweet, who unofficially had nearly 300 receiving yards on 14 receptions to set a school record.

Costello’s 21-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy McNichols cut the Gorman lead to 31-28 with 5:02 left. Santa Margarita made a field goal with five seconds left in regulation to force overtime.

“That’s absolutely a good football team. Unbelievable,” Sanchez said. “They have some great kids who made great plays. We had a 10-point lead and the next thing you know, we’re in a fight.”

While Gorman’s defense gave up some big plays, it also returned the favor in recording two interceptions. The second interception was returned 41 yards for a touchdown by the Gaels’ Dylan Weldon with 4:43 to play in the third quarter to give Gorman its first double-digit advantage.

Randall Cunningham II was sharp in the first half, completing 9 of 11 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown, hooking up with Obim Okeke for a 54-yard catch-and-run midway through the second quarter to give Gorman a 14-7 advantage.

Gorman, which last week beat Southern California’s Servite, hosts California’s Crespi Sept. 14 in continuing its national schedule to open the season. The Gaels play six national games this year — none, however, should come close to matching the excitement of tonight.

The Gorman players partially found their identity during those overtime sessions. Some were struggling to catch their breathe running onto the field, but showed toughness in hanging on for the win. It's a moment Sanchez says they'll be able to build on for the rest of the season.

“That’s the whole point of taking on (national opponents),” he said. “It raises your intensity and takes you into deep waters.”