Bishop Gorman football coach Tony Sanchez was stone-faced Friday as he scolded his offense in a postgame huddle.
Though his team had just posted a convincing 31-0 road victory over Durango, the coach had reason to be concerned.
The second-ranked Gaels were penalized 16 times for 122 yards in a game they might have won by 50 points.
“We were our biggest enemy tonight,” Sanchez said. “We’ve got to do a better job of holding ourselves accountable. We’ve got to focus better.”
A flurry of false-start penalties ruined several early scoring opportunities for Gorman, which finally managed to take a 7-0 lead on a 12-yard touchdown run by Victor Belen with 2:58 left in the first quarter.
Though the Gaels racked up 162 yards in the first half while holding the Trailblazers to 38, they failed to find the end zone again until late in the half.
With 3:22 left in the second quarter, Shaquille Powell capped a nine-play, 55-yard drive with a 6-yard TD run to stretch Gorman’s lead to 14-0.
Durango (1-1) fumbled on its next possession, and Powell recovered the ball and returned it 56 yards for a score. It was the first defensive touchdown of his career.
“I thought that was really big,” Powell said of the two touchdowns he scored in just more than a minute. “It gave us that extra push we needed.”
The Gaels (2-0) continued to dominate in the second half but were held to a 22-yard Collin Ditsworth field goal in the third quarter and a 15-yard TD run by Powell in the fourth.
Sanchez said his defense made the win possible.
“We got a great defensive performance,” said Sanchez, whose squad held the Trailblazers to 120 yards on the night. “Our coaches did a great job scheming.”
Powell led the Gorman offense, logging 111 yards on 12 carries. Belen added 95 yards on 13 carries, and teammate Jarrett Solomon completed 9 of 16 passes for 76 yards.
Julio Mora, who rushed for 205 yards and three touchdowns in Durango’s season-opening victory over Rancho on Aug. 28, was held to 95 yards on 13 carries Friday.
The Trailblazers offense pushed the ball into Gorman territory just once, on a second-quarter drive that ended at the Gaels 43-yard line.
Though the Gaels made the win look easy, Sanchez said his squad headed into the game expecting a battle.
“I’m new to the area,” the first-year coach said, “so I’m afraid of everybody.”