Gaels overcome sluggish start to rout Spring Valley

Bishop Gorman overcame a sluggish start Friday night thanks to quarterback Tate Martell, who completed nine of 13 passes for 178 yards and three touchdowns — all in the first half — as the Gaels routed host Spring Valley, 69-13.

Martell, who has committed to Ohio State, also ran for 72 yards and two touchdowns on six carries for the Gaels.

Gorman’s early struggles may have been the result of suffering an emotional letdown after last week’s thrilling, nationally televised, three overtime win over St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.).

“During the week, I’m sure parents, faculty and staff kept talking about that game, all week long, even today at school even though we had another game tonight,” Gorman coach Kenny Sanchez said. “It’s real important, especially for these guys at a young age, to learn how to block out all of the distractions and focus, I was proud of our boys, we came out and got a good win. I thought the Grizzlies played really well. We’re going to get a lot of people’s best shot.”

While Martell ended up having a huge night, he also struggled early and fumbled away a scoring opportunity on Gorman’s first drive of the game.

“We can definitely play better and I’ve got to get better,” the senior quarterback said. “I’ve got to stop fumbling the ball, that’s my biggest thing. I have four fumbles right now. That’s the biggest thing that I want to correct. … We did really well passing the ball tonight and overall just running the ball between the lines.”

On the Gaels’ second possession, Biaggio Ali Walsh, who finished with 176 yards rushing on 12 carries, scored on a 37-yard run to give Gorman an early lead. Martell scored from a yard out on the ensuing possession to put the Gaels up 14-0.

However, the Grizzlies (1-4, 0-2) didn’t give up and the home stands erupted when quarterback K.C. Moore connected with Marquelle Diggs on a 5-yard touchdown pass to cut the Gaels lead to 14-6 at the end of the first quarter.

“Yeah, give them a lot of credit,” Sanchez said. “They came out here and they wanted to play, wanted to fight. Their coach does a great job with those guys, and they put on a huge show tonight.”

The Gaels (7-0, 2-0 in Southwest League), however, showed why they are the No. 1 team in the country, and eruped for 35 points in the second quarter to put the game out of reach. Martell connected on touchdown passes to Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Austin Arnold and Jalen Nailor, who finished with four catches for 58 yards.

Moore threw for 169 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Grizzlies. Diggs caught three passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns.