Defense spurs top-ranked Gaels in rout of Bonanza

Bonanza came to Bishop Gorman on Thursday boasting one of the valley’s top offenses, averaging almost 40 points a game.

Of course, the Bengals had not faced a defense like the Gaels’, which had given up a total of 20 points to local teams all year.

Advantage Gorman.

The No. 1-ranked Gaels continued their domination of the Southwest League, limiting the Bengals to 87 yards and wrapping up the division title with a 56-0 victory.

Gorman will host Cheyenne, the No. 4 seed from the Northwest League, in the first round of the Sunset playoffs at 7 p.m. Nov. 4.

Bonanza slipped to the No. 3 seed in the Southwest and will travel to Arbor View for its first-round playoff game.

Sophomore defensive end Isaiah Nacua led the charge for Gorman, getting two of the Gaels’ six sacks as they harassed Bengals quarterback Brett Doyle most of the evening.

“The key tonight was just getting the tackle off me and reading the QB,” said Nacua, who also blew up a fake punt for an 8-yard loss. “He (Doyle) was a good one, but I had to take him down.”

Nacua said as Gorman (11-1, 8-0 Southwest) has rolled through the regular season, the defense has taken pride in keeping the opposition from scoring.

“We really don’t like people scoring on us,” he said. “We try to make them lose yards, because we don’t really like them getting yards.”

Gaels coach Tony Sanchez said he was pleased with the way his defense completely doused Bonanza’s offensive output.

“They have a great offense. Their coach has done a heck of a job,” Sanchez said. “When we did the all-league nominations for coach of the year, I nominated him. What a fantastic year.

“But our defense did an outstanding job.”

As if the Gaels defense wasn’t enough to overcome, Bonanza (7-2, 6-2) faced a deficit right away when Tajon Allen took the opening kickoff 98 yards for a score to give Gorman a 7-0 lead.

Shaquille Powell, who rushed eight times for 116 yards, had touchdown runs of 35 and 13 yards in the first quarter to help push the Gaels’ lead to 28-0.

Jarrett Solomon tossed two touchdown passes to Ryan Smith and rushed for a score to push Gorman’s advantage to 49-0 at halftime.

Sanchez said one thing about his team that has been unique is the Gaels have had no letdowns despite all their one-sided results.

“They haven’t taken anyone for granted. I’m really proud of them for that. Not one game did we come out and sputter and look bad,” Sanchez said. “That’s hard to do when you are winning games the way we have.

“The expectations are so high here, but the kids really embrace it. The maturity of this team is outstanding. It’s the best I have ever had.”

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