Biaggio Ali Walsh didn’t score a touchdown in the first three quarters as Bishop Gorman’s football team built its lead Friday night.
But the junior running back piled up some key clock-eating yards in the fourth quarter, and his 1-yard TD run sealed a 30-16 win over visiting Don Bosco Prep (N.J.).
“No matter what, the coaches always tell us to stay focused,” Ali Walsh said. “I feel like being able to stay focused throughout the whole game allowed me to be able to get so many yards, along with my linemen. They paved the way for me, and without them I wouldn’t be able to gain any yards at all.”
The Ironmen (4-3) cut Gorman’s lead to 23-16 on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Devito to John Bowen with 5:17 to play.
But the Gaels (9-0) turned to Ali Walsh, and the junior made sure the lead would stand up. Gorman drove 80 yards on nine plays, eight of them runs by Ali Walsh, and his 1-yard TD run with 1:41 essentially iced the win.
“What a lot of people should talk about is, is he fast? Yeah,” Gorman coach Kenny Sanchez said. “But he broke a lot of tackles today and he ran downhill, and he’s a tough kid.”
Ali Walsh had a key 2-yard run on third-and-1 from the Gorman 42 to extend the drive, then broke a tackle near the line of scrimmage on the next play and raced 44 yards down the right sideline before being pushed out of bounds.
He scored three plays later, and the nation’s top-ranked team celebrated completing the out-of-state portion of its schedule with a 6-0 record.
“It’s overwhelming,” said Ali Walsh, who gained 213 yards on 23 carries. “While coach was talking to us, I teared up. It’s just crazy that we beat so many good teams out of state. We’ve been putting in the work since January, and being able to do this shows hard work pays off, and it’s just overwhelming to me.”
Gorman started slowly against a Don Bosco defense that had yielded just 74 points in its first six games. The Ironmen didn’t let Gorman quarterback Tate Martell get comfortable, and the Gaels managed just one first down on their first two possessions.
Don Bosco marched 69 yards on its second possession, with Malik Bakker capping a 10-play drive with a 1-yard TD run, and the Ironmen had a 7-0 lead.
The Gaels seemed to settle in after that, going to a short passing game that allowed Martell to get the ball out of his hands more quickly. It worked, as Gorman went 80 yards on nine plays on its next possession, with Martell hitting Tyjon Lindsey with a 23-yard scoring pass with 10:19 to go in the half.
Martell completed six consecutive passes on the drive, including a perfect strike to Lindsey, who used a double move to get open in the front of the end zone.
“That’s normal when you play good football teams,” Sanchez said of the slow start. “You’re going to have some ups and downs, and you’ve got to fight through adversity. Things aren’t always going to go your way. That’s just not the deal in football when you play good teams like Bosco.”
Gorman took the lead for good on a 38-yard field goal by Derek Ng with 7:01 to go in the half, and extended the advantage to 17-7 when Martell hit Brandon Gahagan with a 31-yard scoring strike with 3:13 left in the half.
Martell, who has committed to Texas A&M, added a 5-yard TD run with 1:31 to go in the third quarter that made it 23-10.
Martell completed 12 of 19 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns.
Gorman closes out the regular season on Thursday against Palo Verde before starting a playoff run in search of a seventh consecutive state title.
“We got them all out of the way, but that doesn’t mean anything,” Ali Walsh said of the games against out-of-state opponents. “It just means we still need to work and push through it, because this game isn’t the end of our season. We’ve got a ton of games left to do, and the only time we should relax is, God willing, when we go to state and beat the state team.”
Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at 702-380-4587 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @DamonSeiters.