This could be the most challenging game of the season for the Bishop Gorman High School football team.
The second of four contests against national opponents to open the season for the Gaels takes them 2,700 miles away from Southern Nevada to Hawaii for a game Saturday against St. Louis High at Aloha Stadium.
Even though St. Louis dropped its opener last week and Gorman knocked off a top-10 opponent, the Gaels know they will have their hands full. College football and basketball teams traditionally struggle when playing at Hawaii, partially because the travel and time change are too overwhelming.
“I feel that game is going to be the toughest because we are traveling all the way there,” said Gorman senior wide receiver Ryan Smith, who caught a pair of touchdowns last week. “But I know we are going to stay focused and we will be fine.”
Gorman has played in Arizona, Northern Nevada and California the past three seasons, and while those neighboring states don’t equal a trip to the islands, it’s a good experience for the Gorman players. Coach Tony Sanchez organizes each trip like it’s a college team that's on the road and has every hour of the Hawaii journey planned out.
The team left Wednesday evening, practiced Thursday at Aloha Stadium and toured Pearl Harbor. Friday, they’ll practice at the University of Hawaii.
While Sanchez is more than aware of the pitfalls of bringing 100-plus people to Hawaii, he’s more than confident his team will emerge victorious Saturday night.
“It’s a great life experience for the kids,” Sanchez said. “I have full faith in them (being ready to play). The kids have traveled before. They know what to expect.”
Gorman has a handful of players from the islands on its roster, including quarterback Anu Solomon. Solomon moved to Las Vegas from Hawaii when he was 10.
“There is going to be at least 1,000 people there to watch me,” he jokingly said.
Gorman is looking to build on its 27-22 season-opening victory last week against Our Lady of Good Counsel from Maryland. Gorman opened a 19-point lead midway through the third quarter but surrendered 14 unanswered points to close the game.
The win propelled Gorman to No. 11 in the USA Today rankings. Sanchez said he was pleased with the performance of his offensive line and defense.
“Defensively, the kids didn’t give up many big plays until the end,” he said.
Kickoff is scheduled for 10:30 p.m. Las Vegas time. The game will be televised by FOX Regional on channel 50 for Cox subscribers.
Posted on August 31, 2012
by Ray Brewer