The parking lot at Arbor View was filled by 6:30 p.m. Friday, and the line to enter the stadium wrapped around the corner of North Buffalo Drive.
Inside, banners hung on both sides of the field, and a huge crowd gathered to see the Division I Sunset Region football championship game.
Then, Alize Jones went and played the part of buzzkill.
Jones scored on the first play of the game and finished with three touchdown receptions as visiting Bishop Gorman steamrolled Arbor View 56-6 to capture its sixth straight region title.
The Gaels (13-0), the consensus No. 1 team in the nation, meets Sunrise Region champion Liberty (10-2) at 1:05 p.m. Nov. 29 at Rancho in the state semifinals.
“This is always a big rivalry game … so for us to go up (early) was big,” Jones said. “There was a lot of hype this week. They were hyped up. They’re undefeated, they’ve had a great season all year long. Seeing their crowd, seeing our crowd, it was just an electrifying atmosphere.”
Jones went 69 yards down the left sideline for the opening touchdown, and the 6-foot-4-inch, 226-pound tight end had six catches for 200 yards, all in the first half. He also scored on passes of 20 and 21 yards from sophomore quarterback Tate Martell.
“We did not do a good job of getting him the ball last week, and we talked about it,” Gorman coach Tony Sanchez said of Jones, a UCLA commit. “He’s just too good of a player to be on the field and not get touches. So, we made a conscious decison to make sure that we game-planned some things for him. He’s a special kid. I’m going to be heartbroken when he walks out of here.”
Martell was 8-for-12 for 236 yards and four touchdowns, and he completed seven straight at one point. The sophomore was relieved by senior Danny Hong in the second quarter with the Gaels leading 42-0.
Bishop Gorman, which hasn’t lost to an in-state team since 2008, had 386 of its 454 yards in the first half and led 49-0 at the break. The Gaels scored on their first eight possessions before punting on their final drive.
“What can you say? They’re a really, really good team,” Arbor View coach Dan Barnson said. “Hats off to coach Sanchez and all the guys. Hopefully they can bring a No. 1 back to the state of Nevada and Las Vegas. That’d be pretty cool, for all of us.”
Arbor View’s Herman Gray led all rushers with 93 yards on 17 carries and scored his team’s lone touchdown on a 10-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
The Aggies tried to use their double-wing offense to control the clock and keep Gorman’s potent offense on the sideline, but Arbor View couldn’t sustain drives and was stopped four times on fourth down.
The first occasion resulted in a fumble Ryan Garrett returned 38 yards for a touchdown that put Gorman up 21-0 with 4:48 remaining in the first quarter. Arbor View turned over the ball on downs on its next possession at the Gaels’ 39-yard line, and Martell took advantage.
First, he scrambled 31 yards into Aggies’ territory, and one play after a false-start penalty, Martell scrambled right and threw across the field to Jones for a 21-yard score and a 28-0 advantage with 1:41 remaining in the first quarter.
The early deficit forced Arbor View to gamble, and the Aggies went for it on fourth-and-1 from their own 32 on the ensuing drive, but Gray was stopped for no gain. Martell found Austin Arnold for a 32-yard touchdown 16 seconds into the second quarter that put the Gaels on top 35-0.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our kids,” Barnson said. “We beat every rival that we have this year. We won a Northwest (League) championship. I’m happy.”
Contact reporter David Schoen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ.