GLENDALE, Ariz. — Bishop Gorman trailed by a touchdown at halftime Saturday in the Sollenberger Classic at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Shaquille Powell made sure the Gaels weren’t behind much longer.
Powell rushed for three touchdowns in the third quarter to help the Gaels take control on the way to a 42-22 victory over Chaparral of Scottsdale, Ariz.
Powell finished with 300 yards and five touchdowns on 30 carries, added a 30-yard TD reception and made an interception.
The Gaels are ranked No. 7 nationally by Rivals.com and Chaparral is No. 30. The victory was Gorman’s first in three Sollenberger Classic appearances.
“It’s my senior year,” Powell said. “We had to win one of them before I go out.”
In the third quarter, he rushed for 177 yards on 14 carries, fueling Gorman’s 213-2 yardage edge in the period.
“We just knew we had to pound the ball,” Powell said. “We all went together and we were like, we need to run this rock. We need to tire them down. I think that philosophy really worked to our advantage.”
The Gaels needed a spark coming out of halftime, and they got it from quarterback Jarrett Solomon and Powell.
Solomon didn’t provide his spark with his arm, instead using his mouth to draw a key encroachment penalty on fourth-and-2 from the Gorman 47.
Two plays later, Powell used his legs, scoring on a 45-yard run. He took the toss, sidestepped a defender near the 40 and sprinted down the sideline for the score. Kline Fielden’s extra point tied the game at 14 with 7:39 to go in the third.
Gorman decided to go for the onside kick, and Nathan Starks recovered at the Chaparral 44.
That led to a five-play scoring drive, capped by Powell’s 7-yard run with 6:01 to go in the quarter. Powell again took a toss left, jumped over one defender and dragged another into the end zone.
On Gorman’s next possession, Powell broke off a 62-yard run before being pushed out of bounds at the 2, and he scored on a 5-yard run two plays later as the Gaels made it a 28-14 lead.
Gorman continually ran to the left side in the third quarter.
“We called the same two plays the entire time,” coach Tony Sanchez said. “We wanted to run the ball to our bench, to our sideline, to our crowd, to our kids and keep them away from being able to get coached. We just felt like we had a couple of matchup issues over there.”
Powell added scoring runs of 1 and 36 yards in the fourth quarter as Gorman rushed for 293 yards in the half.
“We just kept going to it,” Sanchez said. “You cant do it every game, but I felt like we were at a point where we’re going to run the same two plays until they stop them. Until they stop them, I’m not going to even try to be a football coach.”
Gorman wasted little time getting on the board to start the game. After stopping Chaparral on three plays, the Gaels moved 71 yards on three plays capped by Solomon’s TD pass to wide-open Powell.
The drive only 58 seconds and included a 32-yard Solomon completion to tight end Zach Hutchins.
Chaparral quarterback Connor Brewer, who has committed to play at Texas, missed on his first four pass attempts on the team’s first two drives. But he settled in on the third drive, going 3-for-3 and capping a 10-play, 76-yard march with a 1-yard pass to Cody Ippolito with 25 seconds to go in the first quarter. Dylan Audsely’s extra point tied the game.
Brewer stayed hot, completing four of his next five attempts to lead the Firebirds on an 11-play, 84-yard scoring drive. He capped it with a 29-yard strike to Zach Skeen with 2:12 before halftime.
Gorman appeared to have answered just before the half on a 60-yard pass from Solomon to junior receiver Ryan Smith, but the TD was negated when the Gaels were called for a personal foul.
A delay of game penalty on the next play effectively ended Gorman’s chances on the drive, as the Gaels were left with a second-and-29 from their own 18.